Echocardiography of the fetus: what is it and how do?

Pregnant women pay special attention to his condition. For 9 months expectant mothers undergo various medical studies to learn about the status and pace of development of the unborn child. Such research is concerned with fetal echocardiography (EchoCG). The popularity of this method of diagnosis is explained by the increase in the number of infants newly-born with various heart defects. An unfavorable change in statistics contributes to the increase in the percentage of newborns conceived by assisted reproductive technologies. Timely diagnostics helps to define the tactics of treatment of congenital heart disease in the child before birth.

ЭхоКГ плода: что это такое и как делают?

Echocardiography is a method of ultrasonic examination of the fetal heart. The apparatus, through which the procedure is performed with modern cardiology programs. This method is called ultrasonic examination (sonography) of the heart. Thanks to the Echo of the fetus it is possible to detect congenital heart malformations of the embryo during pregnancy. The advantage of such studies are safe and painless for both the mother and for the future little one.

The study does not require special training. A pregnant woman lies on a couch, and the doctor of ultrasonic diagnostics moves on its stomach ultrasound sensor. On the screen appears magnified image of the structures of the heart that allows us to study it. In addition to the two-dimensional image, it is also possible to set other modes of operation of the ultrasound machine:

  • one-dimensional study allows us to assess the overall condition of the cardiovascular system of the fetus;
  • Doppler assesses blood flow in all departments of the organ being examined.

Conducting Echo takes about 30 minutes, but if the doctor will notice a severe heart defect in the fetus, the study will last longer. Echocardiography is carried out according to testimony in case of suspected cardiac defects of the unborn child. Optimally carry out the study no earlier than the 18th week of pregnancy. If there is suspicion of severe defects, Echocardiography performed from 16 weeks of pregnancy. After the vote, a woman should consult with a pediatric cardiologist.


Among the indications for Echocardiography are:

  • pregnancy after 38 years;
  • diabetes patient;
  • infection transferred during pregnancy (rubella, toxoplasmosis, chickenpox, measles);
  • high blood pressure in the expectant mother;
  • multiple pregnancy;
  • oligohydramnios (polyhydramnios);
  • pathology of the connective tissue in the patient;
  • pregnancy resulting from in vitro fertilization (IVF);
  • genetic predisposition to heart defects (previous pregnancy with this abnormality, the heart defects in the expectant mother);
  • changes in the fetal heart;
  • the delay of fetal development;
  • the presence of fluid in the internal organs of the fetus;
  • congenital diseases of the fetus, provoking the development of heart disease.

A detailed study of the heart-cherished child also shows women who at the time of conception or soon thereafter took the medicine is contraindicated for pregnant women:

  • drugs against epilepsy;
  • lithium;
  • potent antidepressants;
  • some medications against hypertension;
  • antibiotics;
  • nonspecific anti-inflammatory drugs.


If using Echocardiography in the fetus is detected pathology of the audited body, a few weeks is recommended to re-study. If the presence of defects is confirmed, it is possible that after birth the newborn will be carried out emergency surgery. The patient, whose unborn child has heart defects, shown prenatal hospitalization in a medical institution, specializing in cardiac surgeries in newborns. This approach can significantly improve the chances of survival of the baby.

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