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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2005 April;53(2):129-38

language: English

Fetal echocardiography. A sophisticated tool in obstetrics

Carvalho J. S.


Fetal cardiology has been evolving as an exciting speciality over the last 20 years or so. Whilst much is due to technical advances in fetal echocardiographic techniques and the use of sophisticated ultrasound equipment, the partnership among fetal and paediatric cardiologists and a team of professionals working in Fetal Medicine Unit should not be ignored. As a result, targeted fetal echocardiography allows congenital heart disease to be diagnosed in utero with a great degree of accuracy from as early as the end of the first trimester of pregnancy i.e. from around 12 weeks. Conversely, prenatal detection rates in the general population remain suboptimal with many congenital cardiac abnormalities being diagnosed postnatally. A recognised marker for chromosomal abnormalities, that is the finding of an increased nuchal translucency thickness at 11-14 weeks of gestation has also emerged over the last few years as a novel and important marker for major cardiac abnormalities. This has further increased the interest in imaging the fetal heart early in the pregnancy.

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