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Mended Little HeartGuide

About My Child’s Heart Table of Introduction Contents SECTION Common Prenatal Tests and Procedures Fetal Echocardiogram (Fetal Echo) A fetal echo is an ultrasound test that uses sound waves to create an image of your baby’s heart to see how it has formed and how it is working. It can also show blood flow through the heart. This test is typically conducted around 20 weeks into pregnancy and may be used to diagnose CHD, to confirm a diagnosis that was made during an obstetrical ultrasound and get more information about your baby’s heart. If your family is at high risk for congenital heart disease, or if you already have one child with CHD, a fetal echo may be used to determine if there is a heart defect in your baby. A fetal echocardiogram is usually performed by an ultrasound technician but may also be conducted by a fetal cardiologist or perinatologist (maternal fetal medicine specialist). It is painless and does not involve radiation, so it cannot harm you or your baby. The technician will place a transducer, like a wand, with gel on it onto your belly. The gel helps transmit the sound waves (you won’t hear them because they’re too high pitched for human ears to detect). The probe will be moved around to get pictures of your baby’s heart. Sometimes, it may be left in one location for a few minutes to get an image. The images are usually shown on a screen, but unless you’re trained to read echoes, it is very difficult to figure out what you are looking at. Some technicians will show you the valves, atria, ventricles and other parts of your baby’s heart but they typically cannot tell you anything about your son or daughter’s CHD. You’ll get that information after a cardiologist has reviewed the results. Go To 44


Mended Little HeartGuide
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