What is fetal echo?
- Fetal echo is a form of ultrasound test.
- It is a non-invasive test and needs to carry out from abdomen of the expectant mother as radiologist are carrying level II ultrasound (USG) test.
- One important thing that patients should be aware of is that fetal echo should always to be done by a Pediatric Cardiologist as they are aware of fetal and pediatric cardiac diseases in detail as compared to the adult cardiologist or a radiologist. Child heart diseases are different as compared to adult heart diseases.
- There is no need of special precautions that mothers should carry out before the test. She can take food as well as can pass urine before the test.
- Time to conduct this test varies from patient to patient as it depends on multiple factors like fetal position, amniotic fluid, maternal abdomen thickness (obesity) etc.
- Fetal echo doesn’t have any side-effect on the growing fetus.
Why fetal echo?
- By doing this test, we can identify various fetal heart problems even before the birth of the baby like structural heart defects (e.g. TOF, VSD, TGA, etc) as well as we can detect fetal heart beat disorders like fetal decreased (Fetal bradycardia) or increased heart rate (Fetal tachycardia) along with fetal heart rhythm issues like heart block etc.
- Also, by identifying any of the above problems, we can plan further course of pregnancy as well as counsel the family accordingly.
Who needs to have a fetal echo?
Question that is most commonly asked by the parents is that is it compulsory to undergo fetal echo test?
In Indian set up, majority replies on level II USG, if reported normal then few parents are not willing to undergo this test, but level II ultrasound can detect only 40% of fetal heart ailments.
Few pregnancies should always undergo fetal echo test without any doubt:
- Abnormally reported any ultrasound
- Maternal age ≥ 35 years
- Known case of maternal diabetes, rubella, SLE etc
- Sibling with heart disease
- Parents with birth heart defects
- X-ray or drug exposure during pregnancy
- Twin or multiple fetuses
- IVF pregnancy
When to get Fetal Echo Done?
Any time after 18 weeks of gestation, we can conduct fetal echo but most ideal time to carry out this test is between 18-24 weeks of gestation, preferably before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
How sure can we rely on fetal echo?
By doing this test, we can detect almost 90% of various fetal heart related problems including fetal cardiac holes, fetal heart valve problems, fetal cardiac rhythm diseases before birth of the baby.
We are conducting this test at BLK super Speciality Hospital, Delhi. Approximate fetal echo test cost at BLK Hospital is Rs. 3650/- onwards for single pregnancy and Rs 5000/- onwards for twin pregnancy.