About Perinatal Cardiology

The Perinatal Cardiology Program is a unique subdivision of Children’s Hospital's Heart Institute. It consists of neonatal cardiology, fetal cardiology, and maternal cardiology. The program is conducted primarily at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.

Neonatal cardiology is the evaluation and management of both full-term and premature newborns with cardiac problems. It involves both the diagnosis and management of congenital heart disease and functional evaluations of the heart in very sick newborns. Neonatal cardiology requires close collaboration between pediatric cardiologists and neonatologists in both critical care and research. The fetal cardiology program at Children's and Magee-Womens hospitals is one of the busiest in the world, performing approximately 1,200 fetal echocardiograms each year. Since the inception of the program in 1989, thousands of women have undergone fetal cardiac evaluation. Through the fetal cardiology program, the diagnosis of significant fetal cardiac problems can be made as early as 15 weeks gestation, and new techniques are currently being developed to make definitive diagnosis even earlier.

Fetal cardiology involves evaluating the fetus for congenital heart disease and helps physicians manage fetal cardiac function in cases where the baby may be predisposed to abnormal heart function even though the heart is anatomically normal. The fetal cardiology team collaborates on a daily basis with staff from reproductive genetics, high-risk obstetrics, ultrasound and neonatology. On a monthly basis, the staff meets with physicians from neurology, urology, neurosurgery and pediatric surgery.

Maternal cardiology involves the management of heart problems during pregnancy. To date, the maternal cardiology program at Children’s and Magee-Womens has treated more than 200 pregnant women, many of whom have congenital heart disease. Nearly all of the patients in the maternal cardiology program are managed jointly with the Division of High-Risk Obstetrics. During labor and delivery, these patients are cared for in the Perinatal Special Care Unit at Magee-Womens Hospital where they can be monitored closely.

For appointments and consultations with the Perinatal Cardiology Program, call 412-641-4107.

The Perinatal Cardiology Program at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and Magee-Womens Hospital:

  • consists of neonatal cardiology, fetal cardiology and maternal cardiology.
  • performs approximately 1,000 fetal echocardiograms each year.
  • has performed more than 3,100 fetal cardiac evaluations on pregnant women since its inception in 1989.
  • can diagnose significant fetal cardiac problems as early as 16 weeks gestation.