Care of the Fetus With Congenital Cardiovascular Disease: From Diagnosis to Delivery

Caitlin S. Haxel, Jonathan N. Johnson, Susan Hintz, Markus S. Renno, Rodrigo Ruano, Sinai C. Zyblewski, Julie Glickstein, Mary T. Donofrio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The majority of congenital cardiovascular disease including structural cardiac defects, abnormalities in cardiac function, and rhythm disturbances can be identified prenatally using screening obstetrical ultrasound with referral for fetal echocardiogram when indicated. METHODS: Diagnosis of congenital heart disease in the fetus should prompt assessment for extracardiac abnormalities and associated genetic abnormalities once maternal consent is obtained. Pediatric cardiologists, in conjunction with maternal-fetal medicine, neonatology, and cardiothoracic surgery subspecialists, should counsel families about the details of the congenital heart defect as well as prenatal and postnatal management. RESULTS: Prenatal diagnosis often leads to increased maternal depression and anxiety; however, it decreases morbidity and mortality for many congenital heart defects by allowing clinicians the opportunity to optimize prenatal care and plan delivery based on the specific lesion. Changes in prenatal care can include more frequent assessments through the remainder of the pregnancy, maternal medication administration, or, in selected cases, in utero cardiac catheter intervention or surgical procedures to optimize postnatal outcomes. Delivery planning may include changing the location, timing or mode of delivery to ensure that the neonate is delivered in the most appropriate hospital setting with the required level of hospital staff for immediate postnatal stabilization. CONCLUSIONS: Based on the specific congenital heart defect, prenatal echocardiogram assessment in late gestation can often aid in predicting the severity of postnatal instability and guide the medical or interventional level of care needed for immediate postnatal intervention to optimize the transition to postnatal circulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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