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    American Heart Association releases new guidelines for care of fetal heart problems


    The American Heart Association and fetal heart experts have developed guidelines for the care of unborn babies with heart problems.

    The authors reviewed current literature on the assessment and diagnosis of fetal heart issues, as well as currently available treatment options. The recommendations were created to give healthcare providers the most current information on fetal cardiology.

    Some of the recommendations include:

    --Referring expectant mothers for fetal echocardiographs if they have risk factors such as diabetes before pregnancy or diabetes diagnosed during the first trimester, usage of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during the third trimester, or congenital heart disease (CHD) or a familial history of CHD.
    --Monitoring fetuses who have been identified with chromosomal problems or other abnormalities.
    --Careful monitoring of fetuses diagnosed with heart abnormalities and planning of delivery and post-delivery care.
    --Using medicine to treat some heart rhythm disturbances and heart function abnormalities. The use of in utero heart catheterization should be considered experimental.
    --Providing counseling and support to expectant parents. Doctors should be able to provide information about the condition, its treatment, and what future care for a child may entail.


    Miranda Hester
    Ms. Hester is Content Specialist with Contemporary OB/GYN and Contemporary Pediatrics.


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