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Fetal Echocardiogram


Dr. Slusher, along with our sonographers, Melanie and Beth, are pleased to include fetal echocardiograms to our ultrasound services. We are proud to be able to be the first office locally to offer this wonderful service to patients.


What is a fetal echocardiogram?

A fetal echocardiogram ("fetal echo") is a highly detailed ultrasound designed specifically to assess the fetal heart for structural defects as well as normal function.

How is a fetal echocardiogram test performed?

The test is performed by our specially trained ultrasound sonographer, Melanie along with Dr. Slusher (both pictured above). A fetal echocardiogam study is executed in the same fashion as your routine obstetric ultrasounds. There is gel applied to the mother's abdomen, the ultrasound probe is gently placed on the mother's abdomen and pictures are taken. This test is not painful and causes no harm to the baby. The test takes an average of 45–120 minutes depending on the complexity of the baby's heart.

What preparation do I need to do before my fetal echocardiogram?

Unlike some routine prenatal ultrasounds, a full bladder is not necessary for a fetal echocardiogram. It is always important to have as much information as possible when you come for your fetal echocardiogram; especially the details of why you were recommended this test. 

When is fetal echocardiography used?

Not all pregnant women need a fetal echocardiogram. For most women, a basic ultrasound will show the development of all four chambers of the baby's heart.

Our providers may recommend that you have this procedure done if previous tests weren't conclusive or if they detected an abnormal heartbeat in the fetus. 

Our OB/GYN specialists may recommend this test if:

  • your baby or babies is at risk for a heart abnormality or other disorder

  • you have a family history of heart disease

  • you've already given birth to a child or children with a heart condition

  • you've used drugs or alcohol during your pregnancy

  • you've taken certain medications or have been exposed to medications that can cause heart defects, such as epilepsy drugs or prescription acne drugs

  • you have other medical conditions, like rubella, type 1 diabetes, lupus, or phenylketonuria.

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