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Trends in Medical Ultrasound: Fetal Echocardiography


fetal-blog-pic-1We have written previously about trends in ultrasound technology, often focusing on the impact for career-minded professionals.  The potential for ultrasound in the field of medicine as a “window into the body” has advanced further than anyone could have imagined in the nearly thirty years since we at Pegasus Lectures opened our doors.  Nowhere is this more amazing than the study of fetal anatomy, and more specifically fetal echocardiography.

fetal-blog-pic-5The level of evaluation that can be performed on fetuses at 12, 16, 20, 24 weeks has changed the culture in many respects.  Lives have been saved, and mothers, fathers, and even grandparents have felt an unprecedented intimacy with their unborn children.

Hospitals and clinics have established specialty practices to accommodate the emerging technology, against the backdrop of a five year average of nearly 3,800,000 live births in the U.S.A.  As congenital heart defects (CHDs) are the most common birth defects in the United States, affecting somewhere between 1 out of 100 to 110 live births, the specialization in ultrasound focused on fetal echocardiography is well positioned for growth and sustainability.

fetal-blog-pic-3Understanding this industry trend, coupled with Pegasus Lectures’ foundational focus on underlying principles and diligent clinical competency, we recently released the Fundamentals of Fetal Echocardiography eCourse.  It has been well-received and reviews continue to be effusively positive.

The precision and attentiveness required to be successful in this specialty is elevated…but thankfully, so is the compensation and professional fulfillment.  The fetal heart organ itself is only the size of a small to medium-sized blueberry between the 18th and 24th week of gestation.  So it doesn’t take much insight to understand the distinction between a normal-sized versus enlarged heart can be as small as 1mm.  As you can imagine, ultrasound studies that fail to clearly image the fetal heart can be the difference between diagnosed and undiagnosed CHDs.

Understanding the gravity of the specialty, Pegasus Lectures designed the Fundamentals of Fetal Echocardiography eCourse with 14 distinct modules.  We intentionally segmented these into digestible study lengths between 40 and 60 minutes.  These are:

Cardiac Screening

Scan Lab

Left Heart Obstruction

Right Heart Obstruction

Conotruncal Defects I

Conotruncal Defects II

Fetal Arches & 3VT View

Single Ventricle

Atrial Isomerism
Recognizing the Sick Fetus

Fetal Arrhythmias

Genetic Association

Systemic Venous Anomalies




If you haven’t picked up on the inference, we are pretty proud of this eCourse and hope you will evaluate its potential as a comprehensive resource for physicians, sonographers and healthcare professionals interested in integrating fetal echocardiography into your practice or specialization.

Pegasus Lectures was especially delighted to partner with Dr. Helena Gardiner, M.D., Ph. D. in developing this eCourse.  Dr. Gardiner has worked in fetal cardiovascular medicine for more than twenty years, is the first or senior author of more than 130 peer-reviewed publications, editorials and book chapters, and established the Tiny Tickers Charity to improve awareness of congenital heart disease and improve its prenatal detection.

Please contact us if you are interested in sharpening your competency in this field.  We are very enthusiastic about the response we have received and hope you will enjoy this resource to expand your expertise.

Frank Miele, MSEE , President of Pegasus Lectures, Inc.  Frank graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College with a triple major in physics, mathematics, and engineering. While at Dartmouth, he was a Proctor Scholar and received citations for academic excellence in comparative literature, atomic physics and quantum mechanics, and real analysis. Frank was a research and design engineer and project leader, designing ultrasound equipment and electronics for more than ten years at Hewlett Packard Company. As a designer of ultrasound, he has lectured across the country to sonographers, physicians, engineers and students on myriad topics.

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