There's nothing like hearing your baby's heart beat for the first time. But for the parents of nearly one out of every 100 babies, their ultrasound will show a congenital heart defect (or CHD, a birth defect where the heart's structure is abnormal).
About the Fetal Cardiology Program at the Colorado Fetal Care Center
At the Fetal Cardiology Program, our goal is to help your family prepare for the arrival of your newest member and to achieve the best possible outcomes for babies with CHD. We bring together expert fetal cardiologists who specialize in detecting neonatal heart defects before babies are born and some of the world’s most qualified and experienced heart specialists to treat patients from birth through adolescence.
As one of the country's top fetal cardiology programs, we have the expertise, technologies and multidisciplinary care team your family needs to navigate your baby's diagnosis.
Fetal cardiology support for mom and baby
When there’s a concern that your unborn baby has a congenital heart defect or heart rhythm abnormality, our fetal cardiologists are here to help you understand exactly how your baby's heart is developing and to support you throughout this difficult time.
Our Fetal Cardiology Program offers comprehensive care for babies with congenital defects and other abnormalities affecting the cardiovascular system, and is fully integrated with the top-ranked Heart Institute at Children's Colorado, allowing for a seamless transition to pediatric care after your baby is born.
Services offered in our Fetal Cardiology Program
If your baby has a CHD, your pregnancy will require more than routine prenatal care. At the Fetal Cardiology Program at the Colorado Fetal Care Center, we offer the most comprehensive high-risk pregnancy management and fetal cardiac care. Our program offers:
- Expert evaluation, diagnosis, counseling and management of congenital heart defects and acquired fetal cardiac diseases
- Patient education and concierge care coordination
- Personalized delivery planning to determine the optimal time and method of delivery
- Expert care from maternal fetal medicine specialists, neonatologists, pediatric cardiologists, fetal echocardiography specialists (called sonographers), cardiac intensivists and other clinical specialists by your side, from your first visit and beyond
Our state-of-the-art Maternal Fetal Care Unit (MFCU) at the Colorado Fetal Care Center is specially designed for delivering high-risk babies. If your baby’s heart condition necessitates you deliver your baby here, your care team will include:
- A dedicated maternal fetal medicine specialist and pediatric cardiology experts
- Obstetric hospitalists who are specially trained in delivering babies with high-risk fetal conditions
- Any pediatric subspecialist your baby may need immediately after delivery
Because we believe high-quality care should never be out of reach, we’ve made our fetal cardiology services available and accessible, no matter where you live.
Our Fetal Cardiology Telemedicine Program makes our fetal cardiology team available both locally and at a distance. It offers providers and families 24/7 fetal cardiology consultations and echocardiogram interpretations via telemedicine technology.
Working alongside local obstetricians, cardiologists and maternal fetal medicine specialists, our fetal cardiologists can diagnose and manage fetal cardiac anomalies from miles away, allowing your care to stay close to home throughout your pregnancy.
Conditions cared for in our Fetal Cardiology Program
Our fetal cardiology program offers comprehensive fetal cardiac evaluations to families at risk for cardiac anomalies, including:
See all the fetal cardiology conditions we diagnose, monitor and care for prenatally.
Your fetal cardiology team: the heart of the Colorado Fetal Care Center
Every family who is part of the Fetal Cardiology Program will receive support from a team dedicated to the wellbeing of both mom and baby before, during and after birth. Your maternal, fetal and pediatric cardiology team includes highly specialized nurses, physicians, surgeons, and maternal fetal and neonatal specialists who are truly experts in your child’s condition, along with:
- Fetal cardiologists
- Cardiac surgeons
- Cardiac intensivists
- Cardiac anesthesiologists
- Pediatric electrophysiologists
Our center also offers one-of-a-kind support from genetic counselors, lactation specialists in the Breastfeeding Management Clinic, dietitians and social workers.
What moms managing high-risk pregnancies can expect from our Fetal Cardiology Program
During your first visit, you will meet with a fetal cardiologist who specializes in congenital heart disease. You'll also receive a fetal echocardiogram, which is a safe, noninvasive ultrasound performed to evaluate your unborn baby's heart and blood vessels.
Then, depending on your child's specific heart problem, the multidisciplinary experts at the Colorado Fetal Care Center at Children's Colorado will work together to tailor pregnancy, delivery and treatment plans and follow-up care specific to your baby's needs. Because no two heart problems are the same, babies with the same diagnosis might undergo different treatment.
Why choose our Fetal Cardiology Program?
Early diagnosis of neonatal heart defects
By diagnosing a congenital heart defect prenatally, we can prepare for any necessary intervention a baby may need immediately after birth, improving outcomes for these newborns. In fact, more than half of our cardiac patients under 1 year old are prenatally diagnosed by our fetal cardiology team.
With state-of-the-art fetal diagnostic capabilities, we can diagnose congenital heart defects at their earliest manifestation – at just 14 weeks' gestation. This leaves our fetal experts up to 26 weeks to optimize each baby's health by designing optimal treatment and delivery plans.
A continuum of cardiac care under one roof
When it comes to neonatal heart defects, we offer the most comprehensive continuum of cardiac care. Here at Children's Colorado, our pediatric and fetal cardiologists and surgeons are uniquely poised to diagnose CHDs prenatally, deliver these high-risk babies in our specially designed Maternal Fetal Care Unit (MFCU), perform any necessary cardiac interventions after birth and then care for kids as they heal and grow.
Our integrative care model helps make the transition to our Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) as seamless as possible, and lets us delivers these babies into the capable hands of the Heart Institute pediatric specialists required in any future care. Our CICU provides state-of-the-art recovery and monitoring for acutely-ill cardiac patients and those recovering from heart surgery.
Access to the cardiac experts at the Heart Institute
Our Fetal Cardiology Program is fully integrated with the nationally-ranked pediatric cardiac care at Children's Colorado's Heart Institute. Moms and babies benefit from the expertise, innovative research, scope and unparalleled capabilities of the Heart Institute, such as:
Transitioning from the Colorado Fetal Care Center to the Heart Institute
Our continuum of care continues as babies with CHD grow. After delivery, babies diagnosed with a congenital heart abnormality become patients at our nationally ranked Heart Institute, where we are equipped to care for them through infancy, childhood, adolescence – and beyond. Our multidisciplinary team will design an individualized, ongoing plan for your baby, and cardiac specialists at both the inpatient and outpatient Pediatric Cardiology Clinic will manage your child's congenital heart disease.
Learn about your visit to the Heart Institute, where you will find important information to make your time here easier.
Innovative fetal heart research
Our fetal cardiology team, together with maternal, perinatal and neonatal experts, continually strives to improve patient outcomes and advance the science of fetal cardiology. Our research includes primary fetal cardiac issues, as well as other medical concerns that impact the fetal cardiovascular system. We are the leader in several national and international multicenter studies and a participating center in several others.
Through our research efforts, like the Heart Sounds at Home study and the International Fetal Long QT consortium, we are gaining insight into the causes of fetal cardiac conditions and developing strategies for novel treatments.
As the only center in the Rocky Mountain region participating in Mayo Clinic's Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) Consortium, we are leading the way to find solutions for patients with HLHS, a complex form of congenital heart disease. Through our Program, pregnant women whose fetuses are diagnosed with HLHS have the opportunity to participate in groundbreaking clinical trials studying the use of cell-based regenerative therapy to transform the lives of children born with HLHS.
Visit our fetal care center
Learn more about what to expect during your first visit to our fetal care Center, and take a tour of our unique facility.
Fetal Cardiology Program locations
Whether you live in Denver, the surrounding areas or another state or country, our Fetal Cardiology Program is here to support you. With several fetal cardiology locations across Colorado and innovative telemedicine offerings, we aim to make access to care easier than ever. For referrals, transfers or consultations, our staff is available by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.