Who should be offered fetal echocardiography? One center's experience with 3965 cases

Reuven Sharony*, Moshe D. Fejgin, Tal Biron-Shental, Anat Hershko-Klement, Aliza Amiel, Alex Levi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although the comprehensive evaluation of the fetal heart includes echocardiography by an experienced pediatric cardiologist, economic constraints sometimes dictate the need to select patients. Objectives: To analyze the usefulness of fetal echocardiography in the detection of congenital heart disease according to the referral indication. Methods: This retrospective survey relates to all 3965 FE studies performed in our center from January 2000 to December 2004. The diagnosed cardiac anomalies were classified as significant and non-significant malformations. All FE studies were done by a single operator (A.L.) at Meir Medical Center, a referral center for a population of about 400,000. The 3965 FE studies were performed for the following indications: abnormal obstetric ultrasound scans, maternal and family history of cardiac malformations, medication use during the pregnancy, and maternal request. The relative risk of detecting CHD was calculated according to the various referral indications. Results: Overall, 228 (5.8%) cases of CHD were found. The most common indication for referral was suspicion of CHD during a four-chamber view scan in a basic system survey or during a level II ultrasound survey. No correlation was found between maternal age and gestational age at the time of scanning and the likelihood of finding CHD. Conclusions: Our data suggest that a suspicious level II ultrasound or the presence of polyhydramnios is an important indication for FE in the detection of significant CHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)542-545
Number of pages4
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Congenital cardiac disease
  • Fetal echocardiography
  • Four-chamber view
  • Level II ultrasound
  • Polyhydramnios


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