Fetal Echocardiogram Test

What is Fetal echo (Fetal Echo test)?

Fetal echocardiogram test is like an ultrasound test. This test helps us to see fetal heart structure and fetal heart functioning in detail even before delivery of the child.

Ideal time to undergo fetal echocardiogram is between 18 to 24 weeks of gestation especially before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

This test does not cause any harm to fetus as fetal echo test uses sound waves only (no radiation to the fetus) for seeing fetal heart in detail.

By this fetal echo, we can see abnormalities in fetal heart valves, any hole in heart, fetal heart beat disorders etc and we can plan delivery of fetus accordingly so that we can save the life of newborn in timely fashion.


Indication of Fetal Echocardiogram:

A question always comes that is this test always needed in each pregnancy?

These are the common indications for fetal echo, but not limited to:

  • Unborn child who is at risk for a heart abnormality or other disorder
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Previous sibling born with heart defect
  • Few drugs use during pregnancy in first trimester, such as epilepsy drugs etc
  • Maternal illness or infection during pregnancy like rubelladiabeteslupus (SLE), or phenylketonuria
  • Twin Pregnancy
  • IVF pregnancy (twin fetal echocardiogram)

Precautions before undergoing Foetal Echo test:

Patient does not need any special preparation before undergoing Foetal Echocardiogram test. Patient can come after taking meals and there is no need to hold the urine as required in routine ultrasound test.

Fetal Echo test duration (Time)

It can varies from 10 minutes to few hours depending upon single verses twin or triplet pregnancy, fetal position inside the uterus, maternal obesity etc.

Fetal Echo test risk

As this test uses ultrasound modality so not involved with any risk to mother and fetus.

Fetal Echo test result Meaning

If fetal echo test reports normal then in majority of cases, it means that fetus is not having any cardiac disease.

If test reports are abnormal then depending on the disease, doctor can counsel the family and may sometimes advise fetal MRI scan etc.

Importance of Fetal Echo Test?

If fetal echo shows serious cardiac disease, then this helps in timely planning and managing the baby after the delivery.

Sometimes, fetal echo test may need to be repeated once or twice depending on cardiac disease, e.g in cases of coarctation of aorta, fetal heart beat disorders etc.

Can Fetal Echo test always detect all fetal cardiac defects?

It is not always possible to detect all fetal cardiac defects by fetal echocardiogram test. It can detect only 90% of the fetal cardiac diseases.

Fetal echocardiogram preferably should be done by a pediatric cardiologist. It is done through the abdomen of mother. It is an advance modality for detecting various congenital heart diseases in pregnancy.

Fetal Echocardiogram Cost

Now a day, the cost of fetal echo is in affordable range.

Fetal AV canal defect

Fetal Cardiac Tumour

Fetal Small VSD

Fetal Transposition of Great Vessels

Fetal Tetralogy of Fallot

Fetal Tetralogy of Fallot

Fetal Ttricuspid Atresia

Fetal Ebstein's Anomaly