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AIUM Practice Guideline for the Performance of Fetal Echocardiography developed in conjunction with the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Congenital heart disease is a leading cause of infant morbidity and mortality from birth defects with an estimated incidence of 6 per 1000 live births for moderate to severe forms. Accurate prenatal diagnosis offers potential clinical benefit with regard to infant outcome, especially in those cases that are likely to require prostaglandin infusion to maintain patency of the ductus arteriosus. Fetal echocardiography is broadly defined as a detailed sonographic evaluation that is used to identify and characterize fetal heart anomalies before delivery. This specialized diagnostic procedure is an extension of the “basic” and “extended basic” fetal cardiac screening guidelines that have been previously described for the 4-chamber view and outflow tracts. It should be performed only when there is a valid medical reason, and the lowest possible ultrasonic exposure settings should be used to gain the necessary diagnostic information. While it is not possible to detect every abnormality, adherence to the following guideline will maximize the probability of detecting most cases of clinically significant congenital heart disease.