UT Health Physicians

Fetal Cardiology

Fetal Heart Care

Our Approach to Fetal Heart Care 

UT Health San Antonio's multidisciplinary team offers exceptional prenatal and newborn heart care to help your baby get a healthy start in life. 

Congenital heart defects (CHD) are heart conditions present in utero, often requiring treatment immediately after birth. Our pediatric/fetal cardiologists specialize in the early detection of CHD, evaluating and managing them before your baby is born and continuous specialized care afterward.  

Your family and obstetrician can trust our team for expert diagnosis and treatment recommendations for any congenital heart defect or fetal heart problems, such as heart rhythm or function concerns. 

About our Fetal Heart Care Team  

Fetal Heart Cardiology at UT Health San Antonio, partnered with University Children’s Hospital, has a caring and expert team ready to care for you and your baby.  

Our growing congenital heart team consists of pediatric cardiologists, congenital heart surgeons, neonatal intensive care physicians, maternal-fetal medicine physicians, pediatric cardiovascular anesthesiology, dedicated pediatric cardiac critical care unit (PCCU), nurse educators, echocardiographic technologists, genetic counselors, and more highly trained caring staff to provide well-coordinated care of mothers and babies with congenital heart disease.   

Fetal Heart Care: Why choose us? 

We offer: 

  • Caring Fetal cardiologists highly trained to detect heart disease in unborn babies 
  • Access to the entire Congenital Heart Center team  
  • Dedicated sonographers specializing in performing fetal heart ultrasounds 
  • High-risk pregnancy management from our Fetal Heart Program
  • Ongoing patient education and coordination of resources by our dedicated Fetal Heart Program nurse coordinator 

Our unique program strives to provide care that results in the best surgical and neurodevelopmental outcomes for our patients. As part of our commitment to the community, we publicly share our surgical outcomes. We have made it a priority to increase the state-wide prenatal detection of congenital heart disease. Our fetal cardiologists have improved prenatal diagnosis in Bexar County and Texas with promising results. We were awarded a government grant (Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies) as we strive to help communities and improve health care access disparities throughout.

What to expect  

Heart defects are the most common birth defects in the United States. Nearly 1 in 100 babies are born with a heart problem. A fetal echocardiogram is a detailed noninvasive ultrasound performed on the baby’s heart before birth to detect abnormalities. This is typically performed between 19-24 weeks' gestation. 

If you need an echocardiogram, a coordinator will schedule a visit for you to see our team. A highly trained sonographer will take images of your baby. After that, the fetal cardiologist will evaluate the images and take more, if necessary.  

Our fetal cardiologist will discuss the imaging findings, offer treatment options, and answer any questions you may have. 

If heart disease is present, we discuss the diagnosis, review potential interventions or treatments that may be needed pre or post-natal, and work with the maternal-fetal medicine specialist and the patient’s obstetrician to facilitate the best delivery plan for your baby. 

Our fetal nurse coordinator will answer any additional questions and plan for the next steps to care for you and your baby. The coordinator will arrange further visits as necessary. Your nurse coordinator will be a resource to you and your family throughout your pregnancy. 

We offer compassionate care and help you feel at ease knowing you are getting the best treatment options for you and your baby. 

Conditions we treat 

Low-risk conditions 

If your baby is diagnosed with a low-risk condition, we work closely with your obstetrician and your current plan for delivery 

  • Small ventricular septal defects (VSD)
  • Mild valve regurgitation or stenosis 
  • Partial anomalous pulmonary venous return 
  • Premature atrial contractions  

Moderate and higher-risk conditions 

We have the expertise to provide a safe delivery and quick transition to our dedicated Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Unit with highly trained and caring staff to care for your baby.  

  • Absent ductus venosus 
  • Aortic arch hypoplasia, coarctation of the aorta or aortic arch interruption 
  • Aortic stenosis
  • Balanced complete atrioventricular canal defect   
  • Cardiac tumors 
  • Congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries (also known as L-transposition of the great arteries) 
  • Congenital heart block 
  • Ebstein’s anomaly 
  • Double inlet left ventricle 
  • Double outlet right ventricle 
  • Fetal arrhythmias/Fetal SVT
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome   
  • Pulmonary atresia 
  • Tetralogy of Fallot (ToF) 
  • Total anomalous pulmonary venous return   
  • Transposition of the great arteries   
  • Tricuspid atresia   
  • Truncus arteriosus   
  • Unbalanced complete atrioventricular canal/septal defects