Detecting heart problems before birth
Early detection of congenital heart problems saves lives. While most heart defects can be detected while babies are still in the womb, many health systems lack the resources to diagnose — and treat — those conditions. Children’s Minnesota is different.
As one of the only comprehensive programs in the region equipped for both prenatal and postnatal cardiovascular care, we’re improving outcomes for our tiniest heart patients. In-utero diagnosis can improve surgical outcomes, long-term neurological outcomes and reduce perinatal mortality (stillbirths) but nationally less than 50% of heart disease is diagnosed prenatally. With our early fetal echocardiography program, our experts can diagnose fetal heart defects as early as 14 weeks gestation. The “fetal echo” test is an ultrasound targeted to examine the fetal heart in detail, enabling our fetal cardiology team to diagnose structural, functional and heart rhythm abnormalities prior to delivery.
The fetal cardiologists at Children’s Minnesota — who read more than 1,000 fetal echo scans every year — have a 90 percent accuracy record.
Preparing a care plan for your baby
With a reliable diagnosis, parents and their physician team can prepare an individualized care (or treatment) plan for their unborn baby. Should that care plan include fetal intervention, our Midwest Fetal Care Center is an innovative leader in fetal medicine and a pioneer in in-utero surgery. If the plan is focused on treatment after birth, Children’s Minnesota has the largest high-risk neonatal program in the region (with treatment outcomes that rank among the best in the world) and we are the region’s only center for complex, neonatal heart surgery.
From early pregnancy to adulthood, Children’s Minnesota — which cares for far more fetal and pediatric cardiovascular patients than any other program in the state — will be a life-long partner in your child’s care.
Our fetal cardiology team
Our expert team of fetal cardiologists partner with a multidisciplinary team of professionals including OBs, midwives and perinatologists, to provide the best care for you and your child. They are available for consultation on the diagnosis and management of many congenital heart conditions.
- Lisa Howley, MD – Director of Fetal Cardiology
- David Gremmels, MD
- Christine Hills, MD
- Joanna Lowisz, DO
- Bradford Chu, MD
- Rodrigo Rios, MD
To schedule an appointment or refer a patient for fetal cardiology services, please call the Midwest Fetal Care Center 855-693-3825.
To consult with a fetal cardiologist or inquire about reviewing an ultrasound, please call the Children’s Heart Clinic at 1-800-938-0301.