Prenatal diagnosis and treatment planning of congenital heart defects-possibilities and limits

World Journal of Pediatrics : WJP
Mathias NelleM Meyer-Wittkopf


Newborns with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) or right heart syndrome or other malformations with a single ventricle physiology and associated hypoplasia of the great arteries continue to be a challenge in terms of survival. The vast majority of these forms of congenital heart defects relate to abnormal morphogenesis during early intrauterine development and can be diagnosed accurately by fetal echocardiography. Early knowledge of these conditions not only permits a better understanding of the progression of these malformations but encourages some researchers to explore new minimally invasive therapeutic options with a view to early pre- and postnatal cardiac palliation. PubMed database was searched with terms of "congenital heart defects", "fetal echocardiography" and "neonatal cardiac surgery". At present, early prenatal detection has been applied for monitoring pregnancy to avoid intrauterine cardiac decompensation. In principle, the majority of congenital heart defects can be diagnosed by prenatal echocardiography and the detection rate is 85%-95% at tertiary perinatal centers. The majority, particularly of complex congenital lesions, show a steadily progressive course including subsequent secondary phenomena such as...Continue Reading


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