Fetal Echocardiogram

A fetal echocardiogram is a specialised ultrasound examination of the fetal heart and is usually undertaken at about 18-20 weeks gestation. In some cases assessment can be performed as early as 13-14 weeks though it is recommended that a follow-up scan is performed at 18-22 weeks to confirm findings.

There are several reasons why you may be referred for a fetal echocardiogram.

These include:

Family history of congenital heart disease

Increased nuchal translucency (this is a measurement of the thickness of skin at the back of the neck and this forms part of the OSCAR test)

Suspicion of a heart defect on routine 20 week anomaly scan

Heart rhythm abnormality

Exposure to medication taken by the mother including treatment for epilepsy

Maternal diseases including diabetes mellitus, phenylketonuria, systemic lupus

Non-cardiac abnormalities of the fetus

For further information please visit the Bristol Fetal Diagnosis Centre