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If you find out your baby will be born with a heart defect, you need a specialized team by your side. Atrium Health Levine Children’s is home to a state-of-the-art fetal heart program dedicated to helping families like yours. We can diagnose some heart defects as early as 18 weeks into pregnancy – and we’ll work with your family to make a delivery and treatment plan to help you and your baby have a happy, healthy future.

Make an appointment

To learn more about our fetal heart program at Levine Children’s, call 704-373-1813.

About our fetal heart program

From delivery to treatment, we support families through every step of caring for babies with heart defects.

Fetal heart conditions and diagnosis

We start your care with a fetal echocardiogram, an ultrasound that takes moving pictures of your baby’s heart in the womb. This gives us detailed information about your child’s heart and heartbeat. Fetal echocardiograms help us pinpoint defects like:

  • Aortic valve stenosis (AVS): A condition in which the valve that leads to the aorta (the large tube that carries blood from the heart to the body) does not open normally.
  • Atrial septal defect (ASD): A hole in the wall of the heart between the 2 upper chambers.
  • Coarctation of the aorta (CoA): A condition in which the aorta (the artery that carries blood to the heart) is narrow.
  • Ebstein’s anomaly: A condition in which the valve between the chambers on the right side of the heart doesn’t close properly.
  • Fetal arrhythmias: When your child’s heart rhythm is irregular.
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS): A condition in which one side of a child’s heart doesn’t develop properly in the womb.
  • Pulmonary valve stenosis: A condition in which the valve between the heart and lungs does not open properly.
  • Single ventricle defects: A condition in which one of the heart’s lower chambers is too small or underdeveloped.
  • Tetralogy of Fallot: A rare combination of 4 heart defects including ventricular septal defect (VSD), pulmonary valve stenosis, a misplaced aorta and a thickened right ventricular wall (right ventricular hypertrophy).
  • Transposition of the great arteries: A condition in which the 2 main arteries leaving the heart are reversed.
  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD): A hole in the wall that separates the heart’s lower chambers.

What to expect after diagnosis

If we find out your child will be born with a heart defect, we’ll connect you with pediatric cardiologists, cardiac surgeons and other doctors who have dedicated their careers to helping babies like yours. You’ll get to tour the facility and meet social workers and other members of your care team who support your family.

We’ll do everything we can to make this difficult time as easy as possible and help your family prepare for delivery and treatment.

Supportive services

  • The HEARTest Yard. This program provides in-home nursing support for children and families as they transition from the hospital to their home. It’s funded by the Greg Olsen Foundation and was launched after the former Carolina Panthers football player and his wife, Kara, had a baby with a severe heart defect.

  • Camp LUCK. This summer camp is for kids with heart conditions and their siblings. Camp LUCK helps children build a community with other kids who are having similar experiences.

  • Cardiac neurodevelopmental program. Sometimes heart conditions can affect a child’s brain development and lead to things like learning delays. Our brain development experts help your child overcome any challenges that come up as they grow.

  • Child life specialists. These specialists help children and their families with things like getting ready for medical procedures. They can also help your child explain their illness to teachers and classmates.

  • Nurse navigators. The fetal heart program is home to dedicated nurse navigators who spend their days assisting families like yours. These nurses support and build close relationships with each patient and family. They become experts on each child’s condition and medical history, teach parents at-home care, attend appointments to answer questions and discuss treatments, and more.

  • Nutritionists. Our nutritionists make sure kids have a balanced diet and are getting the nutrients they need to stay strong.

  • Pastoral care. Our chaplains offer religious and spiritual support when families request a visit.

  • Social workers. They help families cope by connecting them with things like counseling, support groups and financial assistance.

Why choose Levine Children's?

  • Part of a world-class heart program. We're home to some of the region's most experienced heart specialists and surgeons. And we work closely with Atrium Health Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute to give our patients access to the most advanced and effective treatments.

  • Advanced CICU and NICU. Babies born with serious heart conditions spend time in our pediatric cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) and/or neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) – units specially equipped for our tiniest patients. Our CICU team has decades of experience caring for kids like yours and helping them recover from surgery. And our NICU team will ensure your child has everything they need immediately after birth. They monitor everything from your baby’s diet to their motor skills to make sure they’re on track to grow up happy and healthy.

  • Experience. We see more families who are expecting babies with heart defects than any other hospital in the region. This means our team is highly experienced in caring for families like yours.

  • A team of specialists. Our team is made up of doctors who specialize in various aspects of fetal and pediatric medicine. This includes pediatric cardiologists and fetal sonographers who take pictures of your baby’s heart. These experts work together to evaluate your baby and create a tailored care plan.

  • Top surgical outcomes. Our cardiac surgeons have some of the nation’s best outcomes for pediatric heart surgeries. That’s one reason why U.S. News & World Report ranks us among the best children's hospitals for cardiology and heart surgery.

  • Lifelong care. We start caring for your child before they’re born, and we keep supporting them through childhood, adolescence and beyond.

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