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Basic fetal echocardiography


Welcome to this internet-based course in basic fetal echocardiography, which has been prepared in collaboration between the Fetal Medicine Foundation (FMF) and the NHS Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme (FASP), UK National Screening Committee. You can view the National Standards in England for the 18+0-20+6 weeks fetal anomaly scan by clicking here.

We hope that you will find this course useful to improve your understanding of the fetal heart and to develop your skills in fetal heart evaluation, which is now part of a routine fetal anomaly scan. We hope you will return to the course in the future to refresh your skills. If it is too easy for you, feel free to progress to the more extensive course on Fetal Echocardiography, which is also available on the Fetal Medicine Foundation website.

We hope your understanding of the heart will benefit from the beautiful animation seen here, courtesy of Dr Zamorano (Madrid), made by Luzan 5 with the support of Pfizer SA and published as part of a series of DVDs, "The Virtual Heart". There are of course some differences between this postnatal heart and the fetal heart, but we still feel it is useful. The differences in the fetus include 1) the apex pushed up by the large fetal liver so that the base of the heart lies more or less horizontally on the diaphragm 2) the large right ventricle in the fetus, equal in size to the left and 3) the arterial duct as a patent tube forming a continuation of the main pulmonary artery into the descending aorta. (We have been able to show the position of the duct in the anterior projection, but are unable to show it as the the heart rotates).

Professor Lindsey Allan, King's College Hospital

Courtesy of Jose Louis Zamorano, Luzan 5 and Pfizer.