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Pediatric Cardiology

, Volume 35, Issue 7, pp 1174–1180

First Online: 07 May 2014Received: 12 December 2013Accepted: 15 April 2014


Prenatal heart disease spans the spectrum of severity from very mild to severe life-threatening conditions. An accepted scale for grading fetal cardiovascular disease severity would aid in anomaly standardization, counseling, and future research. The Fetal Cardiovascular Disease Severity Scale with seven severity grades ranging from mild grade 1 to severe grade 7 disease was developed. Severity grade relates to the cardiovascular condition diagnosed by fetal echocardiography, with factors including postnatal intervention, number of interventions anticipated, likelihood of two-ventricle repair versus single-ventricle palliation, and overall prognosis. A survey describing 25 cardiac anomalies was offered to fetal cardiologists at six institutions for validation of scale reliability among practitioners. The study participants graded defects using this scale. A smaller group graded anomalies again more than 2 weeks after the initial survey. The intraclass correlation coefficient ICC was used to assess agreement of the respondents. The survey participants were 14 experienced fetal cardiologists: 9 from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia CHOP and 5 from five additional institutions in the United States. The initial survey ICC was high 0.93; 95 % confidence interval CI 0.88–0.96. The subanalysis showed a higher ICC for the participants outside CHOP 0.95; 95 % CI 0.91–0.98 vs. 0.92; 95 % CI 0.86–0.96, respectively. The ICCs were high for all the fetal cardiologists participating in the repeat evaluation, ranging from 0.92 to 0.99 95 % CI 0.65–1.00. The Fetal Cardiovascular Disease Severity Scale demonstrated good inter- and intrarater reliability among experienced fetal cardiologists and is a valid tool for standardization of prenatal cardiac diagnostic assessment across institutions. The scale has applications for parental counseling and research in fetal cardiovascular disease.

KeywordsSeverity Congenital heart disease Scale Fetal echocardiography Cardiac anomaly  Download fulltext PDF

Autor: Brooke T. Davey - Mary T. Donofrio - Anita J. Moon-Grady - Carlen G. Fifer - Bettina F. Cuneo - Christine B. Falkensam


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