The Fetal Cardiology Program focuses on the detection, evaluation and management of prenatal cardiovascular diseases/heart problems.
Your obstetrician or perinatologist may refer you to our Fetal Cardiology program for one of the following reasons:
- Concern about a congenital heart problem/defect (an abnormality of the heart detected during a routine ultrasound examination)
- Concern about the heart function in the fetus
- Detection of an irregular heartbeat in the fetus
- Presence of other congenital anomalies, which are associated with heart defects/heart problems
- Family history of congenital heart defects
During Your Visit
A fetal echocardiogram is usually performed during the second or third trimester. The test from medical professionals is similar to a regular obstetrical ultrasound but is focused on looking at the heart of the baby before he or she is born. No special precautions or preparations are required before the baby’s heart test from our specialists, and there are no risks associated with it.
- The fetal heart disease test will take approximately one hour depending on the “cooperation” of your unborn baby. The fetal heart disease examinations are performed in the Fetal Cardiology Clinic as part of the Heart Institute and are immediately interpreted by one of our fetal cardiologists. One of the fetal cardiologists will meet with you during or immediately after the baby’s heart condition test to discuss the results of the fetal echocardiogram.
- If a fetal heart defect is identified, the fetal cardiologist will explain how your baby’s heart disease/heart condition impacts the pregnancy and what to expect after your baby is born. The fetal cardiologist will work closely with your team of doctors (obstetrician, perinatologist, neonatologists, pediatric cardiologists and pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons) to prepare you for delivery and ensure that your baby receives the highest quality cardiac care before and after birth.
- As part of the Fetal Care Program, our Fetal Cardiac Nurse Coordinator will work closely with your team of care providers to support and guide you and your family throughout the pregnancy and delivery.
If cardiac/heart surgery from our fetal cardiology team is anticipated because of a fetal heart detect or concerns about a potential congenital heart condition, you may meet with one of our cardiothoracic surgeons during your pregnancy. After delivery, your baby will be cared for by our fetal cardiology team of medical professionals including pediatric cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and neonatologists in the Cardiothoracic ICU (CTICU) at Rady Children’s.
Meet Our Fetal Cardiology Team
Heather Sun, M.D., Director, Fetal Cardiology
Fetal Cardiac Nurse Coordinator
Rady Children’s Hospital provides families with the services of a Fetal Cardiac Nurse Coordinator when your baby has been diagnosed with congenital heart disease (CHD).
In this role, our Fetal Cardiac Nurse Coordinator provides personalized care for you and your family to help with the fetal heart defect/heart problem during this pregnancy. The nurse coordinator supports you with education and resources to help you and your family prepare for your delivery and your baby’s care at Rady Children’s Hospital after birth.
Our Fetal Cardiac Nurse Coordinator will:
- Work closely with your referring physician and keep your doctor informed of you and your baby’s needs and recommended treatment plans.
- Help ensure there is an understanding of related medical conditions and treatment plan.
- Provide resources along with mental and emotional support by connecting patients and families with social and community support systems.
- Provide coordination of care by communicating with all areas of your care team.
For Referring Physicians
Providing fetal cardiology services in San Diego and Murrieta:
Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego (Map it)
7910 Frost Street, Suite 430
San Diego, CA 92123
Murrieta Medical Plaza
25170 Hancock Ave, 1st Floor
Murrieta, CA 92562
Phone: 858-966-5855, Option #4