Fetal Heart Center

    Almost one in one hundred babies are born with a heart problem. The cardiac team at Arkansas Children's understands parents' concerns and the importance of diagnosing heart problems early – even before your baby's birth.

    The Fetal Heart Center is part of The Heart Center at Arkansas Children's. Our program includes pediatric cardiologists and sonographers with expertise in fetal cardiac imaging and congenital heart defects. We work together with other subspecialties including Maternal Fetal Medicine, Neonatology, Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery, Pediatric Surgery and Genetics, to provide you with the most comprehensive prenatal care for your unborn child. Arkansas Children's in cooperation with the University of Arkansas is one of only two pediatric hospitals in the nation performing fetal magnetocardiography to fully evaluate the heart rhythm of the baby.

    A fetal echo at Arkansas Children’s told the Ferguson family that their son Sloan would be born with a heart defect. Knowing about his heart problem early allowed doctors to tailor a plan for his care, likely saving his life and creating a healthier tomorrow.

     

    Appointments

    To Schedule a Fetal Echocardiogram call the Heart Station at Arkansas Children's at 501-364-1818.

    To Schedule a Fetal Echocardiogram with a Level 2 Obstetric Ultrasound call the ANGELS program at 1-866-273-3835.

    Fetal Echocardiogram

    What is a fetal echocardiogram?

    A fetal echocardiogram is a highly specialized type of prenatal ultrasound. This type of imaging study is performed to evaluate the structure of the heart of the unborn child. It is much more comprehensive than just looking at the "4-chamber view" that most people are accustomed to seeing. The heart rate, rhythm, chamber sizes, cardiac valves and many additional views are utilized to look at the cardiac structures from multiple planes and perspectives.

    Who should receive a fetal echocardiogram?

    Certain types of parental, medical and fetal conditions carry a higher risk for having a baby with a congenital cardiac defect. Pregnancies that fall into one of these categories may benefit from this test.

    Maternal conditions such as Type 1 diabetes, autoimmune disorders, maternal exposure to certain medications, genetic conditions, parental or a close family relative with a history of a congenital heart defect are all indications for a fetal echocardiogram.

    Fetal conditions that warrant this test include an abnormal appearing fetal heart, cardiac arrhythmias, fetal hydrops, abnormal karyotype, midline defects and a few other abnormalities.

    When should a fetal echocardiogram be performed?

    This type of scan is best performed between 20 -25 weeks of gestation. In some cases, the scan may be performed earlier to assess the heart, but may need to be repeated later on for evaluation of the heart after further growth.