Current State of Fetal Heart Disease Counseling and Training: Room for Improvement?: Endorsed by the Fetal Heart Society

Jenna A. Keelan, Anita J. Moon Grady, Bhawna Arya, Mary T. Donofrio, David N. Schidlow, Theresa A. Tacy, Kenan W.D. Stern, Miwa K. Geiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We sought to describe the fellowship experiences and current practice habits of pediatric cardiologists who counsel patients with fetal heart disease (FHD) and to identify fellowship experiences related to FHD counseling perceived as valuable by respondents as well as opportunities for improvement. A cross-sectional survey of attending pediatric cardiologists who care for patients with FHD was performed. The respondents’ demographics, fellowship experiences related to FHD counseling, reflections on fellowship training, and current practice habits were collected. The Fetal Heart Society endorsed this survey. There were 164 survey responses. 56% of respondents did not have 4th-year subspecialty training in fetal cardiology. Observing and performing FHD counseling were the most commonly used methods of training, with the highest perceived effectiveness. The number of counseling sessions observed and performed correlated moderately with confidence in FHD counseling skills at fellowship graduation. Extracardiac pathology and neurodevelopment were the least frequently addressed topics in fellowship training and in current practice. Fewer than 50% of respondents received formal education and feedback in counseling techniques during fellowship training. A significant proportion of practicing pediatric cardiologists provide FHD counseling with only standard categorical training. This highlights the potential importance of expanding FHD counseling education into categorical fellowship curricula. We suggest increasing opportunities for fellows to perform FHD counseling and receive feedback as this is a valued and beneficial experience during training. A formalized curriculum including extracardiac pathology and neurodevelopment and the use of evidence-based workshops in counseling techniques may address identified gaps in fellowship education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1548-1558
Number of pages11
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Fellowship education
  • Fetal counseling
  • Fetal echocardiography


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