Patient-reported barriers to prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart defects: A mixed-methods study

Joyce L. Woo*, Shelvonne Burton, Tara Iyengar, Adithya Sivakumar, Sarah Spiewak, Renee Wakulski, William A. Grobman, Matthew M. Davis, Lynn M. Yee, Angira Patel, Joyce T. Johnson, Sheetal Patel, Rupali Gandhi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To ascertain patient-reported, modifiable barriers to prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart defects (CHDs). Methods: This was a mixed-methods study among caretakers of infants who received congenital heart surgery from 2019 to 2020 in the Chicagoland area. Quantitative variables measuring sociodemographic characteristics and prenatal care utilization, and qualitative data pertaining to patient-reported barriers to prenatal diagnosis were collected from electronic health records and semi-structured phone surveys. Thematic analysis was performed using a convergent parallel approach. Results: In total, 160 caretakers completed the survey, 438 were eligible for survey, and 49 (31%) received prenatal care during the COVID-19 pandemic. When comparing respondents and non-respondents, there was a lower prevalence of maternal Hispanic ethnicity and a higher prevalence of non-English/Spanish-speaking households. Of all respondents, 34% reported an undetected CHD on ultrasound or echocardiogram, while 79% reported at least one barrier to prenatal diagnosis related to social determinants of health. Among those social barriers, the most common were difficulty with appointment scheduling (n = 12, 9.5%), far distance to care/lack of access to transportation (n = 12, 9.5%) and difficulty getting time off work to attend appointments (n = 6, 4.8%). The latter two barriers were correlated. Conclusion: While technical improvements in the detection of CHDs remain an important area of research, it is equally critical to produce evidence for interventions that mitigate barriers to prenatal diagnosis due to social determinants of health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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