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Prenatal Detection of Congenital Heart Disease Symposium at CHLA- Sept. 22, 2018.
Symposium directors: Jay Pruetz, MD, and Jodie Votava-Smith, MD

Every year in the United States approximately 40,000 babies are born with congenital heart disease (CHD). As prenatal detection and imaging technology have improved over the last several decades, we’re at the point where we can make high-level, detailed diagnoses of cardiac defects months before a baby is born. However, despite our powerful detection tools, less than 35 percent of CHD cases in the United States are diagnosed in utero. As a result, these vulnerable infants are born under suboptimal conditions, without the appropriate specialists present, or in local hospitals that do not have the expertise to care for an infant with a serious heart condition.

In some cases, early detection can mean the difference between life and death. It is crucial that medical professionals who care for pregnant women and perform prenatal heart screenings have learning opportunities to improve their ability to recognize heart defects in babies during routine prenatal screening. We believe that through improved prenatal screening education, every baby with CHD can be diagnosed in utero so that physicians and families can plan for the child’s birth and the necessary team of experts can be on hand to help the infant through the crucial first minutes, hours and days of life.

This inaugural one-day event will be held at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and will bring together some of the foremost experts in fetal cardiology for an instructive and interactive program aimed at increasing prenatal detection rates and improving perinatal care for children with CHD. We will present a wellrounded, accessible program that addresses the best practices for early detection of CHD. Program highlights will include interactive case studies with audience feedback, a visit to the pathology lab, a live-scanning fetal echo and a parent experience presentation.


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