Although during pregnancy a cardiac malformation cannot be ruled out at 100%, it can be detected before birth, i.e. prenatally, with a greater probability of 90% thanks to an ultrasound similar to those carried out by gynaecologists during pregnancy, being the ideal moment around 20 weeks.
Only one fifth of pregnant women has some risk factor predisposing to have a child with a heart defect, such as an increase in nuchal translucency in the baby (commonly known as nuchal translucency), or chronic maternal diseases such as diabetes mellitus and lupus for instance. Thus, the majority of congenital heart diseases are first located in moms who are healthy and without any risk factors. Therefore, it is important to make a good screening by the gynaecologist, because in the case of finding any cardiac abnormality, s/he can refer to a specialist as soon as possible, and provide proper prenatal advice.
Congenital heart disease advances
This information, which will help parents to be as prepared as possible during pregnancy and after childbirth, include the risk of other associated malformations, the risk to find a similar alteration in a subsequent pregnancy again, treatment options, and survival in the short and medium term.
In recent years, there has been an increase in early detection of these cardiac malformations, not just by having devices of higher quality, but also due to higher professional training and communication between different services (gynaecologists, paediatricians, child cardiologists, neonatologists, geneticists, among others) All this to offer future parents the most accurate information about the future of their children.
Dr. Aída Hernández