The added value of screening fetal echocardiography after normal cardiac views on a detailed ultrasound

Academic Article


  • Objective: Evaluate fetal echocardiography's ability to detect critical (lesions requiring immediate neonatal intensive care) congenital heart disease (CHD) after normal anatomic cardiac views on detailed ultrasound. Methods: Singletons with both a detailed ultrasound at 18 + 0 to 22 + 6 weeks and echocardiogram performed at least 14 days later and at 20 + 0 to 24 + 6 weeks. Cases with cardiac pathology on detailed ultrasound were excluded. Different combinations of cardiac views were described: Basic (four-chamber, outflow tracts), Expanded (plus three-vessel view), and Complete (plus ductal/aortic arches). “Normal” was defined on either 2D gray scale or color Doppler. Primary outcome was rates of critical CHD missed on ultrasound but seen on fetal echocardiogram. Results: One thousand two hundred twenty-three women had normal Basic cardiac views. One thousand one hundred ninety (97.3%) were confirmed normal on echocardiogram. Twenty-one (1.71%) total CHDs were missed, and three were critical (0.25%; 95% CI, 0.03%-0.53%). Of the 1,223 women, 763 had Complete views. Ten (1.31%) total CHDs were missed and one (0.13%; 95% CI, 0.13%-0.36%) was confirmed critical. Conclusion: Fetal echocardiography can increase CHD detection despite normal cardiac anatomy on detailed ultrasound; however, CHDs missed are rarely critical. Approximately 750 fetal echocardiograms need to be performed to detect one critical CHD with Complete normal cardiac views on detailed ultrasound.
  • Published In

  • Prenatal Diagnosis  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cawyer CR; Kuper SG; Ausbeck E; Sinkey RG; Owen J
  • Start Page

  • 1148
  • End Page

  • 1154
  • Volume

  • 39
  • Issue

  • 12