Expanded Access to Fetal Cardiology Program Improves Care for Mothers

Fetal Cardiologist Dr. Sanghee Ro performing echocardiogram on Fetal Cardiology Patient

The Fetal Cardiology Program at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Heart Center provides specialized care to diagnose fetal heart conditions before a baby is born, consults mothers whose unborn children have suspected or known heart problems, and delivers treatment to help babies born with heart conditions live healthy lives. One of the largest programs of its kind in the country, Children’s Fetal Cardiology Program has more than 20 highly skilled fetal cardiologists on staff who collaborate with local and regional obstetricians, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, neonatologists, and delivery centers.

If a fetal heart problem or congenital heart defect is diagnosed, the program provides seamless access to Children’s pediatric cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and cardiac intensivists who develop family-centered treatment plans. It offers a variety of multidisciplinary resources such as prenatal genetic counseling, social work support and access to specialized cardiac nurses. In addition, families are offered a tour of the cardiac intensive care unit along with simulations to prepare them for their hospital stay.

Fetal Cardiology Program Updates

Fetal cardiologist Sanghee Ro, MD,  works with the Children’s Heart Center fetal imaging team. Dr. Ro participated in a Quality Academy program offered through Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta dedicated to reducing the time between an initial fetal cardiology referral to the first visit with a Children’s Cardiology specialist.

“The area of improvement I worked on aimed to shorten the time between when families are first told they have a potential problem and when they see one of our specialists,” Dr. Ro said. “This tends to be a high anxiety time for most families as they wait for details of their diagnosis and plan for care.”

Strategies to improve access to timely fetal care across the state of Georgia have included revising referral forms to allow the referring physician to weigh in on how quickly they want their patient seen. In addition, more fetal slots have been opened at 15 additional outpatient clinics so families across Georgia can have better access to care and be seen more quickly. Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Ro and the Heart Center fetal imaging team, there will be more slots available for families as the new Children’s Hospital, the Arthur M. Blank Hospital, opens. All these strategies will work in conjunction to ensure families are able to see a heart specialist in a timely manner after any fetal heart problems are suspected or identified.

Heart defects and conditions diagnosed and treated by the Fetal Cardiology Program include:
  • Atrioventricular (AV) canal defect
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Fetal arrhythmia
  • Atrial flutter
  • Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)
  • Heart block
  • Fetal heart failure
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS)
  • Single ventricle heart disease
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Transposition of the great arteries (TGA)
  • Ventricular septal defect



Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Heart Center’s Fetal Cardiology Program

Fetal Cardiology Program Director, Erik Michelfelder

Fetal Cardiology Clinic Locations

Questions to Ask Your Doctor During a Fetal Echocardiogram

Early Gestational Fetal Imaging Gives Timely Insight into CHD

Families Choose Fetal Cardiology Program for Coordinated Care Before Birth

Fetal Heart Rate Paints a Picture of Baby’s Health


For more information about Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Cardiology and our pediatric cardiology specialists, click here.

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