Fetal Heart Program
The Fetal Heart Program at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia specializes in the detection, evaluation and management of fetal heart defects prior to a baby's birth.
We have performed more than 15,000 fetal echocardiograms since 2008, making our Fetal Heart Program one of the largest programs of its kind.
Fetal heart defect evaluation, diagnosis and treatment
Heart disease is the most common congenital condition affecting newborns; it is also among the most complex. Your obstetrician/gynecologist can rely on the training and expertise of the Fetal Heart team at CHOP to provide an accurate diagnosis and detailed treatment recommendations for fetal heart defects.
Our offerings include:
- A state-of-the-art technology. We are one of the few programs to offer early fetal cardiovascular imaging (EFCI), which allows diagnosis of heart defects as early as 12 weeks’ gestation.
- Planning for labor and delivery. Our Special Delivery Unit (SDU) is the first-of-its-kind birthing center dedicated exclusively to pregnant women carrying babies with a known birth defect.
- Access to the full Cardiac Center team and the most advanced fetal heart defect treatments available, including fetal heart interventions if necessary.
- A wealth of education about the heart anomaly, treatment options and potential outcomes.
- Complete care of your newborn after birth. Our teams are specially trained to provide life-saving cardiac therapies immediately after the baby is born.
- Access to one of the leading cardiothoracic surgery teams in the world. We perform more than 850 cardiothoracic surgeries per year and our outcomes are among the best.
- Ongoing education and support for a smooth transition from prenatal to postnatal care.
We remain in close and frequent contact with your obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) to plan the best delivery options and fetal heart defect treatment for your baby.
Your visit to the Fetal Heart Program
During your initial visit to the fetal heart program at CHOP, you will receive:
- A fetal echocardiogram (a safe, noninvasive ultrasound is used to assess the structure and function of an unborn baby's heart) and analysis by a fetal cardiologist specializing in fetal heart defects.
- Consultation with the fetal cardiologist, with ample time for questions and answers.
- Ongoing patient education and coordination of resources by a dedicated Fetal Heart Program nurse.
- Consultations with other Cardiac Center and CHOP services, as needed, including cardiothoracic surgery, maternal-fetal medicine, genetics, anesthesia and social services.
- A tour of the facilities and an opportunity to meet other members of the Cardiac Center team.
If a fetal heart defect is identified, our team will work with you and your OB/GYN to plan care, beginning with options for delivery. After delivery, your baby will be cared for in the Cardiac Center. If your newborn requires surgery, our cardiothoracic surgeons can perform even the most complex surgery for congenital heart disease.
The Fetal Heart Program at CHOP offers the expertise and support to make a true difference in the lives of expectant parents and their babies. To ask questions, learn more about the program, or make an appointment, please call 215-590-5647 or e-mail us at email@example.com.
The Fetal Heart Program team
- Hema P. Bhargava, MBBS
- Anirban Bannerjee, MD
- Meryl S. Cohen, MD
- Karl Degenhardt, MD
- Paul E Farrell, MD, MBA, FAAP, FACC
- David Goldberg, MD
- Elizabeth Goldmuntz, MD, FAAP, FACC
- Shobha Natarajan, MD
- Anita L. Szwast, MD
Chief, fetal cardiovascular imaging specialist
Senior fetal cardiac sonographer
- Margaret McCann, RDMS
- Debbra Soffer, RDMS
For more information on the Fetal Heart program.
Fetal Heart Program Videos
This suite of videos gives an overview of the The Fetal Heart Program and the defects we treat.
Annual Report 2013
Doctors found a tumor on Tucker’s heart when his mother, Katie, was 20 weeks pregnant. Surgeons at CHOP performed open fetal surgery to remove the tumor, and Tucker, born 14 weeks later, became the first baby to survive the groundbreaking procedure. Learn more in CHOP’s 2013 Annual Report.
Born in the SDU after a prenatal diagnosis of hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), Xavier had his first surgery when he was 4 days old. Read Xavier's Story»