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Fetal Cardiology

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Fetal Cardiology

Congenital heart defects can be found in the smallest patients, even before they are born, our cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons have the expertise and skills to give your baby a fighting chance at life.

Medical Office Building,5th floor
1446 Harper Street
Augusta, Georgia 30912
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  • Fetal Cardiology

Our Approach

When your baby is diagnosed with a congenital heart defect while still in utero, you are going to have worries and questions about what obstacles might lie ahead.  Know that the fetal cardiologists and specialists at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia, have decades of experience in diagnosing and treating the smallest heart patients. Our comprehensive program is focused on the care and support of you and your baby.

The Fetal Cardiology Program is part of Pediatric Cardiology and is designed specifically for expectant mothers and their families.  This program is meant to provide the compassionate care and guidance they need from the moment of diagnosis, through delivery, to treatment and beyond.

If your obstetrician suspects a congenital heart defect, due to a family history, or because of a suspicious ultrasound, ask to be referred to a Fetal Care Center coordinator.  Newly diagnosed fetal patients will be seen by multiple doctors and specialists. The Fetal Care Center coordinator is your point person to organize your visits and try to get them all on the same day, when possible.

Collaborative Care

Our specialized multidisciplinary care team works together for you and your baby.  The remainder of your pregnancy is managed by a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist who collaborates with your Fetal Cardiologist.  Your team can also include pediatric cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, neonatal and pediatric intensivists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and more. This team works closely with families to develop a detailed care plan for you and your baby.

Planning for your Delivery

Depending on the type and complexity of your baby’s heart defect, we may have you deliver at the Labor and Delivery Center, at Augusta University Health, so your baby can have immediate access to our NICU and a pediatric cardiology evaluation. 

When you are between 32 to 35 weeks pregnant your team will hold a family meeting. This includes tours of our Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units. Your family will get to meet with the entire multidisciplinary care team. They will review your specialized birth plan and go over any questions you have before delivery.

Our Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) offers the highest level of care available, including the region’s largest team of neonatologists. We are unique in that we are the only hospital in the state of Georgia where the Labor and Delivery Center is located just steps away from the NICU, so you will be able to visit your baby as often as you are able after birth and during their treatment.

What Happens After Delivery?

Your child will most likely be transferred to our NICU and may remain here until discharge or surgery.  If your child needs surgery, they will be transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for post-operative care.

Our home monitoring program allows families to care for their critical child at home

Our high-risk neonatal home monitoring program at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia is designed for complex patients who have undergone the first stage in the surgical palliation of their congenital heart defect. Families are given materials and education to empower them to be able to take their child home. This program, which has shown to improve survival rates in critical children, is specially tailored to you and your family’s needs

Follow-up Care

Depending on the complexity of the abnormality, your child may or may not require surgery to treat a congenital heart defect, or in more complex conditions, they may have to have a series of surgeries. Ongoing medical management may also be needed. After any initial procedures, your child will continue to receive follow-up care at our Pediatric Cardiology Outpatient Office, where your pediatric cardiologist will continue to provide ongoing care management and surgery referrals if needed.

There are many kinds of congenital heart defects that we can detect in babies before they are born or immediately following birth.  Some common heart defects we see are:

  • Ventricular septal defects, defects of the inlet heart valves.
  • Tetralogy of Fallot, is a combination of heart defects that affect the way the heart functions.
  • Transposition of the great vessels, when the two arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs and body are connected to the incorrect pumping chamber.
  • Total anomalous pulmonary venous return, the pulmonary veins attach to the cardiovascular system in the wrong place causing poorly oxygenated blood to mix with oxygenated blood. This lack of oxygen causes babies to appear blue (cyanotic).
  • Single ventricle heart defect, when only one ventricle is large enough or strong enough to pump blood effectively.
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, during development in utero, the left side of the heart does not form correctly, causing blood to flow abnormally through the heart.
  • Fetal arrhythmia, is when the heart beats irregularly in utero.
  • Hydrops, is when a heart defect or rhythm abnormality limits the heart function, or other organ is functioning poorly, causing fluid to build up in the abdomen, and around the heart and lungs of an unborn baby.
 

Our Providers

Augusta University Medical Center specialists provide care and support throughout your entire healthcare journey.

Domingo, Liezl, MD

Pediatric Cardiology

Wiles, Henry Barnett, MD

Pediatric Cardiology

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