The Fetal Heart Program
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. Our caring professionals help parents make the shift from expecting a healthy baby to preparing for one with a heart condition.
Our Fetal Heart Program, directed by Shubika Srivastava, MBBS, Associate Professor of Cardiology, was established in 1998 as the first of its kind in the New York City area. A team of professionals uniquely trained in the diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart disease coordinates care during pregnancy and beyond. The program provides education about diagnostic tests, surgical procedures, and the care of newborns after delivery and post-surgery.
Ira Parness, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology, is sensitive to the needs of parents who learn during pregnancy that their baby has a heart problem.
"Imagine hearing, 'Your baby has a very complex heart defect and we're going to be operating, and it's going to be the first of three operations,'" says Dr. Parness. "Trying to assimilate all of that information while you are in shock is very difficult."
Every year, Mount Sinai Heart performs 1,200 fetal echocardiograms, starting as early as the 12th week of gestation. The well-being of the fetus is evaluated throughout the pregnancy, and preparations for delivery are made to provide the necessary care immediately after birth.
The Fetal Heart Program unites physicians from pediatric cardiology, obstetrics, neonatology, and cardiothoracic surgery. In addition to doctors, the team includes nurses, genetic counselors, and social workers to address the medical and psychological needs of patients and their families.
Says Dr. Parness, "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."