Prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart disease is now well established for a wide range of cardiac anomalies. Diagnosis of congenital heart disease during fetal life not only identifies the cardiac lesion but may also lead to detection of associated abnormalities. This information allows a detailed discussion of the prognosis with parents. For continuing pregnancies, appropriate preparation can be made to optimize the postnatal outcome. Reduced morbidity and mortality, following antenatal diagnosis, has been reported for coarctation of the aorta, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and transposition of the great arteries. With regard to screening policy, most affected fetuses are in the "low risk" population, emphasizing the importance of appropriate training for those who undertake such obstetric anomaly scans. As a minimum, the four chamber view of the fetal heart should be incorporated into midtrimester anomaly scans, and where feasible, views of the outflow tracts should also be included, to increase the diagnostic yield. Newer screening techniques, such as measurement of nuchal translucency, may contribute to identification of fetuses at high risk for congenital heart disease and prompt referral for detailed cardiac assessment.
- Congenital heart disease
- Fetal heart