PMID: 9509546Mar 24, 1998Paper

Prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart disease

Prenatal Diagnosis
U Gembruch

Abstract

Owing to the widely different levels of experience of examiners, there is a large discrepancy in study results of second trimester ultrasound screening for fetal malformations, which is a result of varying levels of obstetric scanning expertise prevalent at the reporting centre. This holds particularly true for the prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart disease where detection rates ranging from 0 per cent to 60 per cent are being reported. On the other hand, congenital heart disease affects about 4-8 per 1000 live births and is a leading cause of infant mortality, whereas prenatal diagnosis could possibly prevent death and long-term morbidity in some of these neonates. Various screening concepts for more effective detection of congenital heart diseases are analysed in this article, including the more recent technique of early echocardiography between 13 and 15 weeks of gestation. High-risk groups are defined and the group of fetuses with increased thickness of nuchal translucency seems to be of particular interest.

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