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About The Test

The fetal echocardiogram (also known as an echo fetal) uses sound waves to create images of the unborn baby's heart. This non-invasive ultrasound test reveals the heart's structure and how it's functioning.

What is an echocardiogram for a fetus performed?

A skilled ultrasound sonographer usually conducts the test. The images are evaluated by a pediatric cardiologist specializing in congenital heart diseases of the fetus. 

Certain specialists in maternal-fetal medicine (perinatologists) can also perform ultrasounds of the fetal heart. 

A slight examination of the baby's heart may be possible in a regular obstetrical scan and is suitable for women with a lower risk. But, 

women who are suffering from any of the risks mentioned above must undergo a thorough ultrasound of the fetal heart conducted by a doctor who has been specially trained in the evaluation of the fetal heart.

There are two methods to carry out an echocardiogram of the fetus:

  • Abdominal ultrasound This is the most commonly used form of ultrasound used to assess the baby's heart. It involves applying a gel to the abdomen of the mother. An ultrasound device is placed on the mother's care, capturing images. The procedure isn't unpleasant and is not harmful to the infant. The test lasts approximately 45 to 120 minutes, based on the level of the baby's heart.

  • Ultrasound of the vagina: Ultrasound is usually used in the early stages of pregnancy. An ultrasound transducer of a small size is placed inside the vagina and is placed on the back of the vagina. The pictures can then be taken of the heartbeat of the baby.

The other tests, processes, and referrals that are possible are:

  • Ultrasounds of the fetal high-level: A detailed ultrasound of the remainder of the fetus is required to track the development of the fetus. Assess the fetus's health and evaluate the other fetus's organs for any abnormalities in the other organs.

  • Fetal MRI The test is getting more accessible and may provide more information on the general condition of the fetus as well as issues with specific organs.

  • Genetic counseling: Genetic counselors, as well as geneticists, offer an evaluation of the possibility of having a genetic condition and any possible anomalies in other organs, based on the diagnosis of heart and other findings of the fetus. Geneticists can give patients and their families information about the effects of a condition and the possibility of developing it or passing it on, and ways it can be avoided and treated.

  • Perinatologist Perinatologists can advise on the best way to manage your pregnancy, choices to decide whether or not to carry on the pregnancy, and plan for the delivery.

  • Social worker/Nurse A person who is acquainted with the heart condition in children and can offer details on caring for a child suffering from an inherited heart condition.

  • Amniocentesis is a test to detect chromosomal or genetic disorders and certain birth defects. The procedure involves inserting a needle in the abdominal wall and uterine wall in the sac of the amniotic fluid to collect a sample of amniotic fluid.

  • Expert consultation As per the diagnosis, you might be referred to subspecialists like neurosurgeons, general surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and Urologists.

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