Fetal Cardiac Dysfunction
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Fetal cardiac dysfunction is the name for a number of heart problems in a growing fetus. The heart can be pumping weakly or pumping out of sync.
The heart is not able to move blood through the body. This can cause danger to the baby.
Causes may be:
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
The symptoms depend on the type of defect. Problems may be:
This health problem can be found using special tests before a child is born.
Pictures may be taken of the mother's belly. This can be done with:
The baby’s fluids may be tested. This can be done with amniocentesis.
This problem may get better on its own in some children. In others, treatment will be needed based on the type of defect.
Surgery may be done to correct the problem while the baby is still in the womb. A baby may also have surgery after birth, such as:
Women should not drink alcohol, smoke, or use drugs while pregnant. Regular prenatal care is also important.
American Heart Association
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Congenital heart defects. American Heart Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed November 4, 2020.
Congenital heart defects. Kid's Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/if-heart-defect.html?ref=search. Accessed November 4, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 5/11/2021
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.