The Fetal Heart Program at Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai Heart developed its Fetal Heart Program to assist parents facing the frightening news that their baby will be born with a congenital heart defect. Under the supervision of Noninvasive Imaging Laboratory Director Shubika Srivastava, MBBS, the program is directed by Miwa Geiger, MD. The Fetal Heart Program was established in 1998 as the first of its kind in the New York City area.
The program’s nurse, Michelle Cafone, CPNP, streamlines the care and follow-up of patients. A team of physicians uniquely trained in the diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart disease coordinate care during pregnancy and beyond. The Fetal Heart Program coordinator works closely with the family following the diagnosis of a fetal cardiac condition that would require management during and after pregnancy. The program provides education about diagnostic tests, surgical procedures, and the care of newborns after delivery and post-surgery.
Every year, we perform over 2,200 fetal echocardiograms, some starting as early as the 12th week of gestation for those who have a high risk of suspicion for congenital heart disease (CHD). The optimal time for performing a fetal echocardiogram is in the late second trimester between 18-22 weeks gestation. For an unborn child diagnosed with CHD, fetal well-being is evaluated throughout the pregnancy and preparations for delivery are made to provide the necessary care immediately after birth. For complex congenital heart disease that will require surgical intervention, advanced imaging and creation of 3D models help in surgical planning to optimize outcomes.
The Fetal Heart program unites physicians from pediatric cardiology, obstetrics, neonatology, and cardiothoracic surgery. In addition to doctors, the team includes nurses, genetic counselors, physicians assistants, and social workers to address the medical and psychological needs of patients and their families.
An Alliance with Mount Sinai and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
As part of an alliance with Mount Sinai and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), our interdisciplinary team treats heart abnormalities, from the earliest point of detection. We emphasize a holistic approach to care for the pregnant woman and the entire family, including nutritional and psychological counseling.
Says Dr. Ira Parness, Chief of Pediatric Cardiology, "This is a marriage of technology and cutting-edge care in a supportive family-centered environment. The difference the Fetal Heart Program can make is extraordinary."