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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.

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 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 nurse navigators who support your family.

We create a multidisciplinary team including interventional cardiology, neonatology, pediatric advanced care and maternal-fetal medicine to create a personalized care plan for you and your baby.

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

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