Utility of Fetal Echocardiography with Acute Maternal Hyperoxygenation Testing in Assessment of Complex Congenital Heart Defects

Sheetal R. Patel*, Nitin Madan, Pei Ni Jone, Mary T. Donofrio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Fetal echocardiography is an excellent tool for accurately assessing the anatomy and physiology of most congenital heart defects (CHDs). Knowledge gathered from a thorough initial fetal echocardiogram and serial assessment assists with appropriate perinatal care planning, resulting in improved postnatal outcomes. However, fetal echocardiography alone provides limited information about the status of the pulmonary vasculature, which can be abnormal in certain complex CHDs with obstructed pulmonary venous flow (hypoplastic left heart syndrome with restrictive atrial septum) or excessive pulmonary artery flow (d-transposition of the great arteries, usually with a restrictive ductus arteriosus). Fetuses with these CHDs are at high risk of developing severe hemodynamic instability with the immediate transition from prenatal to postnatal circulatory physiology at the time of birth. Adjunctive use of acute maternal hyperoxygenation (MH) testing in such cases can help determine pulmonary vascular reactivity in prenatal life and better predict the likelihood of postnatal compromise and the need for emergent intervention. This comprehensive review discusses the findings of studies describing acute MH testing in a diverse spectrum of CHDs and congenital diagnoses with pulmonary hypoplasia. We review historical perspectives, safety profile, commonly used clinical protocols, limitations, and future directions of acute MH testing. We also provide practical tips on setting up MH testing in a fetal echocardiography laboratory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number281
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • congenital heart defects
  • delivery planning
  • fetal echocardiography
  • maternal hyperoxygenation test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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