Primarily performed by the division of maternal fetal medicine (MFM), these experts take a proactive, state-of-the-art approach to detecting potential heart problems in utero. When a heart defect is identified, the MFM experts incorporate the expertise and care of the Pediatric Cardiology team, led by pediatric cardiologist Laurie Panesar, MD. These Pediatric Cardiologists have expertise with the most complex pediatric heart problems.
Typically, pregnant women are referred by their obstetricians for a fetal echo — as early as 18 weeks gestation — when there is a suspected problem. Currently the divisions of Maternal Fetal Medicine and Pediatric Cardiology are working together to develop ways of screening for these defects even earlier in pregnancy. If a problem is identified, Stony Brook and the family can make informed decisions, put together a team of experts and develop a plan for the birth. In some very rare cases, the baby may need immediate surgery. The pediatric surgical specialists at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital will be brought onto the team beforehand, and be ready at the birth to help the family make a seamless transition to high-level pediatric care.