Screening ultrasound exams of fetal anatomy should include a standardized, thorough evaluation of fetal cardiac anatomy.
The sequential imaging of five transverse views of the abdomen, heart and great vessels, which we refer to as the “5 essential views,” is an evidence-based technique demonstrated to detect a majority of critical congenital heart defects.
High quality education and training should be made accessible to sonographers to support their proficiency and confidence in fetal cardiac imaging.
Celeste Sheppard, MD
Dr. Sheppard earned her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College and graduated from UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. After completing her internship and residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, she completed a fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at University of Texas-Houston Medical School, and a second fellowship, in perinatal research, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned her board certification in obstetrics and gynecology in 1996 and in maternal-fetal medicine in 1998.
Dr. Sheppard has recently joined the faculty of the University of Texas Dell Medical School. She is a Fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a member of the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM), the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM), and the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology (ISUOG). She credits her experience as a member of the Nuchal Translucency Quality Review (NTQR) committee of the Perinatal Quality Foundation with stimulating her interest in applying principles of standardized technique, training and feedback to improve quality and value of prenatal cardiac screening. She loves to share her passion for prenatal sonography with sonographers and fellow clinicians.
Helena M. Gardiner, MD
Co-Director, Fetal Cardiology Program, The Fetal Center, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital
Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and Department of Pediatric Cardiology, UTHealth Medical School
Helena Gardiner, M.D., Ph.D., is a world-renowned fetal cardiologist who specializes in fetal echocardiography. Her clinical and research interests include fetal vascular programming in monochorionic twins, fetal growth restriction and the use of percutaneous fetal valvuloplasty. Her recent translational research interests include MRI and MRS assessment of the fetal brain and neuro-developmental outcomes in babies with a prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart disease and twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome; novel aspects of imaging the fetal heart early in gestation; and cardiovascular functional assessment later in childhood following fetal surgery for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.
Dr. Gardiner graduated from medical school in Wales, United Kingdom, and went on to train in pediatrics and neonatal medicine in the U.K. and the Bahamas. After training and accreditation in pediatric cardiology, she was awarded a Medical Research Council (MRC) Visiting Scientist Fellowship at the University of Lund in Sweden, where she studied vascular programming of the fetal circulation. In 2002 she received a Ph.D. from Lund University. Dr. Gardiner is a member of the American Heart Association, the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology (ISUOG), secretary of the Fetal Working Group of the Association of European Paediatric Cardiology and a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (London) and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
Prior to her affiliation with the The Fetal Center and UTHealth Medical School, Dr. Gardiner served as reader and director of perinatal cardiology at Imperial College, London, with honorary contracts at the Royal Brompton Hospital and the Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in London. In 1999 she founded the Tiny Tickers charity organization in the U.K., in order to improve overall detection, diagnosis and care for babies with congenital heart defects, before birth and in the first year of life. She brings her experience with the exceptionally successful Tiny Tickers program to Tiny Hearts Project, in her ongoing mission to improve the confidence and skill of sonographers in the detection of congenital heart disease.
Tiny Hearts Project is an initiative of Mindful Sonography Inc., a Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Your donation is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.