Perinatal Cardiology Program at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in association with UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

In the U.S., nearly 1 in every 100 babies is born with a heart disorder. At UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, our experts can find many heart defects before your child is born.

The Perinatal Cardiology Program is a unique branch of the UPMC Children's Heart Institute. The program consists of fetal and neonatal heart health.

We provide care mainly at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, but we can also see people at satellite locations.

What Is Neonatal Cardiology?

Neonatal cardiology allows us to assess and manage full-term and premature babies with heart defects.

Our neonatal heart program can diagnose and treat:

  • Congenital heart disease (CHD).
  • Heart function in very sick newborns.
  • Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias).

Our neonatal heart health experts work as a team with children's cardiologists and neonatologists in both critical care and research.

What Is Fetal Cardiology?

Fetal cardiology involves checking an unborn baby's heart for CHD. It helps doctors manage heart function in babies who may be at risk for heart problems.

The fetal cardiology program at UPMC Children's and UPMC Magee is among the busiest in the world.

We do about 1,200 fetal echocardiograms each year. Since this program launched in 1988, thousands of pregnant women have had fetal cardiac exams.

The fetal cardiology team works with staff members from:

  • Reproductive genetics.
  • High-risk obstetrics.
  • Ultrasound.
  • Neonatology.

Monthly, our team meets with doctors who are experts in:

  • The brain, spine, and nervous system.
  • Brain and spine surgery.
  • Surgery for infants and children.
  • Urinary tract diseases.

What does a fetal cardiologist do?

If you're pregnant and your baby has or may have heart issues, a fetal cardiologist can assess and manage them.

These may include:

  • Heart rate and rhythm issues.
  • CHD.
  • Heart abnormalities detected on an anatomy scan.

Fetal Echocardiography

A fetal echo (echocardiography) is a test that uses sound waves to make detailed pictures of an unborn baby's heart.

Done by a pediatric heart doctor and specially trained sonographer, a fetal echo:

  • Takes real-time pictures of the anatomy and function of your baby's heart.
  • Helps find heart issues before birth.
  • Lets you and your doctors decide on next steps.

Children's heart doctors have special training in echo testing to diagnose CHD as early as 18 weeks. But it's best done between 20 and 23 weeks. New techniques are in progress that will help us make a precise diagnosis even sooner.

We offer echo scans at UPMC Children's and UPMC Magee.

What if my baby has a heart defect?

If the fetal echo detects a heart defect in your baby's heart, we'll work closely with your ob-gyn team.

Our heart health experts will do their best to provide precise details on the diagnosis and treatment. We'll explain all the options and help create a plan for more testing and delivery.

We'll stay in close contact until your baby arrives. We also offer a host of support services for parents facing the diagnosis of CHD in their child.

We may refer you to the Heart Institute at UPMC Children's for:

We may also refer you to:

  • Genetics.
  • Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM).
  • Centers for Advanced Fetal Diagnostics (CAFD).

Referrals to the Fetal and Perinatal Cardiology Program

We require a referral from your OB-GYN or a UPMC Children's Hospital specialist before your first visit. If you have a managed care plan, you may also need consent from your insurance provider.

To make an appointment with the Perinatal Cardiology Program, call 412-641-4547. You can also email any questions to