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The Pediatric Heart Center

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Fetal Cardiology

The Fetal Heart Program at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) consists of nationally and internationally renowned cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, obstetricians and neonatologists. Our experienced cardiologists are able to image the smallest of fetal heart structures using the latest in ultrasound technology to provide state-of-the-art diagnosis. This gives us the clearest picture possible in order to plan the optimal care for the fetus and baby.

We offer:
  • Expert diagnosis
  • Interventional cardiology
  • Neonatal cardiac surgery
We are experts in all fetal cardiac conditions, including:
  • Single Ventricle
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Tranposition of the great arteries
  • Double outlet right ventricle
  • Atrioventricular canal defect
  • Fetal arrhythmia

We work as a team to coordinate care for mothers and their babies through pregnancy and delivery. We see patients at sites throughout Westchester County and the Bronx.

Collaboration with referring physicians
Our team sees more than 900 patients every year from across the New York tri-state region. Many of these are same-day referrals for mothers who have a possible fetal heart problem seen on an ultrasound, or have an abnormal fetal heartbeat heard on examination. We partner closely with general obstetricians and maternalfetal medicine specialists from Westchester County, and throughout New York City and the surrounding region. We work closely with our fetal medicine service to ensure that all fetuses with potential heart defects are thoroughly evaluated for any other problems.

Compassionate, coordinated care
When a fetus is diagnosed with a heart condition, our fetal and interventional cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, maternal-fetal-medicine specialists and neonatologists meet with the mother and family to discuss the diagnosis and develop a plan. Together with the expertise of our colleagues in the Pediatric Heart Center, including cardiac anesthesiologists, cardiac intensivists, and a dedicated team of cardiac nurses, social workers and child life specialists, we work to provide the very best in care for the baby and mother.

About the fetal echocardiogram – what to expect

A fetal echocardiogram uses sound waves to look at the structure and function of your baby’s heart. Screening examinations are typically performed between 18 and 22 weeks gestation, though with high risk pregnancies or suspected heart disease, imaging earlier in pregnancy is possible. It is noninvasive, safe and painless. It takes approximately 45 to 60 minutes to complete.

After evaluating the images, one of our fetal cardiologists will thoroughly explain the results to you and any family member who is accompanying you. Some cardiac conditions, such as fetal arrhythmias (abnormal heart beats), may be treated before your baby is born, while others may require treatment immediately after the baby is born. The advanced awareness of any heart condition is highly beneficial to mothers and family members, who have time to understand the diagnosis and plan ahead for their baby’s treatment. Obstetricians, pediatricians and other caregivers also benefit from the information gained on the fetal echocardiogram by being able to anticipate the baby’s needs after birth.

On the day of your visit, please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time. If possible, try to avoid consuming a large amount of caffeine prior to your visit, as this can lead to increased movement of the baby which can make imaging more difficult. There are no special preparations that are needed otherwise, and your bladder may be full or empty (though you may prefer it empty!). Please budget at least 1 ½ hours for the entire appointment and counseling.

Advanced fetal echocardiography technology

The CHAM fetal cardiologists use advanced technology, such as 2D and 3D imaging, Doppler imaging, speckle tracking echocardiography and fetal biometry (tracking fetal growth) to gather critical information. These detailed noninvasive imaging methods provide enhanced imaging quality and a vast amount of quantitative data. We can then track the growth of the heart structure over the course of your pregnancy, allowing for better predictions of your baby’s need for treatment after birth.

Collaboration with referring physicians

Our Fetal Cardiology Program is led by Dr. Kenan Stern. Dr. Stern and his team see over 800 patients every year from across the New York tri-state region. Many of these are same-day referrals for patients who have had a possible heart problem seen on an ultrasound performed by their obstetrician, or have had an abnormal fetal heart beat heard on examination. They partner closely with general obstetricians and Maternal-Fetal-Medicine specialists from the Bronx, Manhattan, and Westchester, Putnam, Orange and Rockland Counties. They also have a very close relationship with the High-Risk Obstetrical Ultrasound Imaging Center led by Dr. Pe’er Dar at Montefiore’s Jack D. Weiler Hospital to ensure that all fetuses with potential heart defects are thoroughly evaluated for any other problems.

“Referring obstetricians are our partners in the identification of fetal heart disease,” Dr. Stern explains. “If a referring physician suspects heart disease, we are able to perform a fetal echocardiographic examination that same day.”

Besides prompt appointments, another primary reason cited for referring patients to CHAM is its coordinated care of the baby who has a heart condition. Cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, anesthesiologists, neonatologists, cardiac intensivists and our dedicated team of cardiac nurses, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, social workers and child life specialists work seamlessly together to help each patient.

This holistic approach is transforming the fetal cardiology discipline, and most importantly, lives. “It’s always devastating for parents to learn of their child’s diagnosis of a heart condition,” Dr. Stern empathizes. “But knowing this far ahead of the actual birth helps families prepare and allows physicians to coordinate care to ensure the optimal outcomes for the babies. We have quite a few children and young adults who we’ve followed since fetal life, and when you see them as four- and five-year-olds starting school or graduating high school or college, it’s a wonderful feeling.”

Resources for families of children with congenital heart disease

American Heart Association
1-800-AHA-USA-1
1-800-242-8721
1-888-474-VIVE (Spanish)

Centers for Disease Control

Little Hearts
1-866-435-HOPE

Little Hearts, Inc. is a national organization providing support, education, resources, networking, and hope to families affected by congenital heart defects. Membership consists of families nationwide who have or are expecting a child with a congenital heart defect.

Mended Little Hearts

Mended Little Hearts is non-profit, volunteer-led program providing hope and support to children, patients and families affected by congenital heart disease, whose mission is to empower families affected by congenital heart disease (CHDs) through peer-to-peer support services, education, connecting families with resources, creating awareness and advocacy.

For urgent consultations, we are able to accommodate patients within 24–48 hours.

Call us for a consultation
Fetal Heart Program: 718-741-2178
Spanish Spoken

Visit us

Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) Pediatric Heart Center
3415 Bainbridge Avenue
5th Floor
Bronx, New York 10467

Weiler Hospital,
Einstein Campus Maternal Assessment Center

1825 Eastchester Road
2nd Floor
Bronx, New York 10461

Hartsdale Fetal Medicine
141 South Central Avenue
Suite 203
Hartsdale, New York 10530

Montefiore New Rochelle
16 Guion Place
New Rochelle, New York 10801

WESTMED Medical Group
Ridge Hill
73 Market Street
Yonkers, NY 10710