Fetal cardiac dysfunction refers to a number of heart problems in a growing fetus. For example, the heart can be:
The heart is not adequately able to move blood through the fetus’s body. This can cause distress in the fetus. The condition can range from mild to severe.
Cardiac dysfunction may be due to:
General risk factors for heart problems include:
The symptoms depend on the type of defect. The doctor will monitor your baby’s growth and heart rate during the pregnancy. During fetal monitoring, the doctor may detect an abnormal heartbeat, such as:
During imaging tests, the doctor may also detect:
Fetal cardiac dysfunction can be detected using special tests during pregnancy, such as:
Talk with the doctor about the best treatment plan for your baby. During your pregnancy, you will need to be examined by specialists, such as:
There are many categories of this condition. Treatment depends on the type of defect. In certain cases, the problem can resolve on its own.
In other cases, the condition may be treated during the pregnancy. For example, surgery may be done to repair abnormal structures while the baby is in the uterus.
After your baby is born, he may need medicine or surgery. Examples of surgeries that may be done include:
Make sure you receive good prenatal care:
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Heart Association
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Fetal heart rate monitoring. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp015.cfm . Accessed July 28, 2010.
American Heart Association. Congenital heart defects. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.youreth... . Accessed July 15, 2010.
American Heart Association. Fetal echocardiography. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.youreth... . Accessed July 15, 2010.
Children’s Hospital Boston. Diagnosing heart defects. Children’s Hospital Boston website. Available at: http://www.childre... . Accessed July 15, 2010.
Kids Health. Congenital heart defects. Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.... . Accessed July 15, 2010.
Pregnancy Info. Abnormal heartbeats. Pregnancy Info website. Available at: http://www.pregnancy-info.net/abnormal_heartbeats.html . Accessed July 28, 2010.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 09/30/2012
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