Utility of fetal echocardiography in postnatal management of infants with prenatally diagnosed congenital heart disease

Prenat Diagn. 2009 Jul;29(7):654-8. doi: 10.1002/pd.2260.


Objective: Congenital heart disease (CHD) remains a significant cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. This study evaluates the success of fetal echocardiography (FECHO) in guiding delivery management in pregnancies complicated by CHD.

Methods: Cases with CHD diagnosed by prenatal FECHO performed at a single institution from January 2000 to June 2005 were retrospectively reviewed. The accuracy of prenatal diagnosis and the appropriateness of proposed care plans based on FECHO were compared to postnatal care plans based on neonatal echocardiograms (NECHOs).

Results: Of the 72 mother-infant pairs with prenatally diagnosed CHD, 53 underwent NECHO. Overall, the FECHO diagnosis matched the NECHO diagnosis in 50 out of 53 cases (94.3%). The NECHO added diagnostic or functional information in 6 of the 53 FECHO cases. Three of these were minor and would not have resulted in a significant change of delivery plans. The other three were major findings and would have resulted in a revision of delivery planning. Overall, 96% of the delivery plans based on FECHO agreed with the delivery plans based on NECHO.

Conclusion: Fetal echocardiography has a high correlation with postnatal and neonatal echocardiographic findings. Delivery management plans may be based on fetal echocardiogram diagnoses.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Delivery, Obstetric / methods
  • Echocardiography* / methods
  • Echocardiography* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Planning
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnosis*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / epidemiology
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / diagnosis
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / epidemiology
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal* / methods
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal* / statistics & numerical data