Our long experience with prenatal diagnosis and planning for optimum care allows us to offer the highest quality treatment whether intervention is indicated before or after birth.
Under the direction of Dr. Michael Harrison, the Fetal Treatment Center was the first institution to develop fetal surgery techniques. The first open fetal surgery in the world was performed at UCSF since the early 1980's. We presently have more experience with fetal surgery and endoscopic fetal intervention (FETENDO fetal surgery) than any other institution in the world. We are dedicated to congenital heart disease research and treatment innovation.
Fetal heart disease involves an abnormality of the heart, whether it be a structural defect (also known as congenital heart disease), a problem with the fetal heart beat or a functional problem with the heart squeeze or filling.
Most congenital heart defects can be repaired after birth with excellent results. However, a few severe defects, such as those that lead to maldevelopment of one of the pumping chambers, may not be correctable after birth, or it may require a series of open heart surgeries that, even if successful, result in abnormal circulation (single ventricle physiology) and life-long limitations. It is those fetuses with distinct structural defects that lead to death or life-long difficulty that are candidates for fetal intervention.
Fortunately, fetal echocardiography has improved dramatically over the last decade, so that most abnormalities can be accurately diagnosed by an experienced fetal echocardiographer/cardiologist. This often requires evaluation at a tertiary or quaternary fetal echocardiography center.
Accurate prenatal diagnosis by an experienced fetal echocardiographer/cardiologist is essential. In most cases of congenital heart disease, the diagnosis is reassuring and postnatal management at an appropriate referral center will improve outcome. In most of these cases, the timing and type of delivery will not affect outcome, but the place of delivery will. These families will want to work out a plan for delivery and postnatal care with their obstetrician/perinatologist, pediatric cardiologist, and pediatric cardiac surgeon, so the baby can be stabilized and treated in the same center.
The innovative procedures at FTC saved the lives of both Angela and Guy, whom were both diagnosed with severe CCAMs.