Fetal echocardiography is an ultrasound of the fetus' heart. It is an external exam, performed on women in the second trimester of their pregnancy, if the gynecologist monitoring their pregnancy requests it in accordance with the criteria defined by the Ministry of Health.
During test, the structure of the heart, the blood vessels that enter and exit, blood flow to and from the heart, heart function and rate are all examined in depth. It enables identification of fetal cardiological problems, so that they can be treated at an early stage in the pregnancy or after birth. This way, if a problem is discovered, the odds of survival for babies with any heart defects grow.
Criteria for performance of echocardiography include a maternal medical issue, a heart defect in the mother or first-degree relative, or fetal problems discovered in scans during pregnancy. The consultation and findings provided by the physician, as already mentioned, support the decisions on what needs to be done as the pregnancy progresses.