Johns Hopkins All Children's Heart Institute

Fetal Heart Program

We specialize in diagnosing and managing heart disease prior to birth, providing personalized care to meet the needs of you and your unborn child.

When you learn that your unborn baby has a congenital heart defect, it’s important to receive expert care from a compassionate team that will help you understand your baby’s diagnosis and treatment options. 

Our fetal heart team is dedicated to providing you and your unborn child with the expert, personalized care that addresses your child’s individual needs. Our team provides a full spectrum of services, including fetal diagnostic testing and clinical management before, during and after delivery. We work with you to explain your baby’s specific heart condition, answer all your questions and discuss treatment options to develop a care plan.

The team includes board-certified pediatric cardiologists who work closely with our heart surgeons, fetal echocardiography sonographers, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, neonatologists, and cardiac critical care physicians in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU). We will also help coordinate care for your child with other pediatric specialty physicians at Johns Hopkins All Children’s depending on your child’s condition. 

A congenital heart defect diagnosis brings many questions about the child’s birth, overall health and development, and the impact on the whole family. Our team will answer your questions about this journey based on our experience and the best research available.  

Meet our Fetal Heart team.

Conditions We Treat 

We treat a range of congenital heart diseases – including conditions that run in families – that are both structural and functional. Structural defects affect the way the heart is formed and the patterns of blood flow through the heart, while functional diseases affect the way the heart works, even if it is formed normally. 

Some of the conditions we manage include: 

  • Aortic and pulmonary stenosis  
  • Atrial and ventricular septal defects 
  • Cardiomyopathy 
  • Fetal arrhythmias 
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome 
  • Mitral and tricuspid valve disease 
  • Single ventricle heart defects 
  • Tetralogy of Fallot 
  • Total anomalous pulmonary venous return 
  • Transposition of the great arteries 
  • Truncus arteriosus 

Services  

A fetal echocardiogram is a type of ultrasound used to take pictures of a baby’s heart, and examine the heart’s structure, function and rhythm. Some reasons why your obstetrician may refer you for a fetal echocardiogram include: 

  • Abnormal obstetrical ultrasound or suboptimal views of the fetal heart 
  • Fetus has kidney, brain, lung, liver, bowel or other organ system problems 
  • Chromosome differences or genetic syndromes such as Marfan syndrome, DiGeorge syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis 
  • Fetal heart rate or rhythm issues 
  • Mom with diabetes, lupus, Sjogren’s disease or other autoimmune disease, or on medications that could affect the fetus 
  • Family member who had childhood heart disease or needed heart surgery during childhood 
  • Family member with phenylketonuria (PKU), or other metabolic conditions 
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF) or multiple gestations 
  • Fetal hydrops 
  • Maternal infection 

We offer a full panel of diagnostic testing and services including: 

  • High-resolution, three- and four-dimensional fetal echocardiograms or fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to image the heart 
  • Fetal oxygen testing to monitor lung function 
  • Fetal home heart rate/rhythm monitoring program to track serious heart rhythm abnormalities 
  • Evaluation and treatment of fetal heart failure 
  • Evaluation and treatment of twin pregnancy complications 

What to Expect 

  • During your appointments, a specially trained ultrasound technician will perform a fetal echocardiogram to capture images of your baby’s heart.  
  • A pediatric cardiologist will review the images and sit down with you to explain the diagnosis, counsel you about treatment options, and answer any questions you may have. The cardiologist can also refer you to any additional specialists as needed. 
  • You can meet with our surgeons, maternal-fetal medicine experts, neonatologists, genetic counselors and others. At our main office in St. Petersburg, you can get a tour of the hospital and meet the health care team members who will be involved in the care of your baby.  
  • Our maternal-fetal medicine experts and high-risk obstetricians can make arrangements for delivery at Bayfront Baby Place, a specialty center for high-risk births located inside Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. 
  • After delivery, our experienced transport teams can bring newborns to our 97-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or our 22-bed cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU). All rooms in our CVICU are single-patient, private rooms and have sleeping accommodations for two parents. 

Patient and Family Support

Our team works seamlessly to support each family’s journey. We provide social work services and chaplain services to help meet our patient families' social, emotional or spiritual needs. We also participate in Mended Little Hearts, a support group organized by parents of children with congenital heart disease. 

Ronald McDonald House Charities also provides a home away from home for inpatient and outpatient families from outside of our local area. There are three Ronald McDonald Houses on the Johns Hopkins All Children’s main campus. Expectant mothers who live outside of the Tampa Bay area can stay there for a week or two before delivery at no charge. A “day use” program is also available for family members of a hospitalized child. 

Learn more about resources available.


Contact Us

 

We offer fetal echocardiograms and consultations in several Johns Hopkins All Children’s Outpatient Care locations, including St. Petersburg (main campus), Brandon, Pasco, Sarasota, and Tampa.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us.