Why is it necessary to have a fetal echocardiogram?

The article is professionally consulted by Master, Doctor Ly Thi Thanh Nha - Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology - Vinmec International General Hospital Da Nang. Doctor Nha has strengths and experience in fetal malformation ultrasound, 3D, 4D fetal ultrasound.
Congenital heart disease is a dangerous disease that seriously affects the health of the baby. Congenital heart defects can be detected early with ultrasound screening for fetal heart defects. Early detection of heart disease helps the newborn to be controlled and plan early treatment to avoid complications caused by heart defects.

1. What is fetal echocardiography?

The structure of the fetal heart is almost complete with the division of heart chambers, heart valves, and blood vessels around the 8th week of pregnancy. If the fetal heart structure is not complete, it can lead to congenital heart defects.
Fetal echocardiography is a method of using ultrasound waves to examine the fetal heart to help assess the fetal cardiovascular status such as heart rate, structure and function of the fetal heart. Usually, when the fetus is over 20 weeks, it will be large enough and can be carefully examined through fetal echocardiography.
Currently, advanced fetal echocardiography technology can detect about 99% of congenital heart defects during pregnancy. For some mild cases of fetal heart defects, fetal echocardiography may not be visible, but most severe and life-threatening malformations of the baby can be detected by fetal echocardiography shortly after birth.
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Siêu âm tim thai giúp tầm soát và phát hiện sớm dị tật tim bẩm sinh ở trẻ

2. Why need echocardiography?

According to statistics in the world, congenital heart defects account for 0.8-1% of all heart defects, of which 25% are severe heart defects requiring immediate intervention after birth. Most current heart defects can be completely repaired and returned to a normal life if the right time is chosen. A small number of other cases are only partially repairable. However, due to the lack of early detection, only a part of the children born with early intervention received early intervention, the rest were detected late, causing life-threatening complications for the child.
For mild heart defects, the child can heal on his own or live a normal life. But severe malformations can lead to complications such as:
Heart failure Increased pulmonary artery pressure Lack of oxygen to nourish the body leads to retardation of motor, mental, intellectual development of the child, and the child's body is easily weakened have an infectious disease. Causes difficulty breathing due to lack of oxygen, severe can cause death. The detection and monitoring throughout pregnancy thanks to echocardiography helps cardiologists identify the type of heart defect, thereby planning treatment for the baby as soon as it is born and limiting the waiting time for surgery. Reduce costs in the meantime.
In addition, fetal echocardiography also helps to limit unnecessary termination of pregnancy due to errors in diagnosis and consultation of congenital heart disease.
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Siêu âm tim thai giúp hạn chế tình trạng chấm dứt thai kỳ không thiết

3. Who should have fetal echocardiography?

According to statistics, up to 90% of fetuses born with congenital heart disease have no prior risk factors, so fetal echocardiography is recommended for all pregnant women if possible. But especially indicated for the group of high-risk pregnant women include:
Having a family history of congenital heart disease. Pregnant women with diabetes, certain genetic diseases or certain autoimmune diseases (lupus, scleroderma...). Infection with rubella, flu during pregnancy, especially in the first 3 months of pregnancy. Using some drugs such as anticonvulsants, anti-depressants, anti-prostaglandin synthesis... Pregnancy thanks to artificial insemination. Periodic fetal ultrasound detects cardiac abnormalities. Having other congenital diseases and having a high risk of congenital heart disease: There are extra-cardiac abnormalities such as umbilical hernia, diaphragmatic hernia, duodenal bulb atrophy, pyloric stenosis, nape edema... Arrhythmias pregnant. Abnormal nuchal translucency during the first trimester of pregnancy. Multiple pregnancy, suspected twin exchange syndrome.

4. Notes on fetal echocardiography

Some notes to pay attention to when fetal echocardiography
Fetal echocardiography often in the first months may not have completely accurate results, so it is important to follow-up surveys in the following months to detect malformations necessary.
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Fetal echocardiography should not be abused too often, although there is no evidence that this method is harmful, but only when necessary. The exact diagnosis of malformation depends on the image quality of the ultrasound machine and the expertise of the sonographer. Should choose a reputable address to perform echocardiography to increase diagnostic value. Fetal echocardiography helps in early screening of heart defects. From there, children can be planned and treated early, reducing complications caused by congenital heart disease. Especially women who are at high risk of having a baby with a birth defect should undergo fetal echocardiography. Should choose a reputable address for the most accurate examination and advice.
Vinmec International General Hospital offers a Package Maternity Care Program for pregnant women right from the first months of pregnancy with a full range of antenatal care visits, periodical 3D and 4D ultrasounds and routine tests to ensure that the mother is healthy and the fetus is developing comprehensively.
Pregnant women will be consulted and checked for health under the close supervision of experienced and specialized Obstetricians, helping mothers have more knowledge to protect their health during pregnancy as well as reduce reduce complications for mother and child.
If you have a need for consultation and examination at the Hospitals of the National Health System, please book an appointment on the website for the best service.

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