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Advanced Fetal Care

Sinai C. Zyblewski, M.D. with nurse

The MUSC Advanced Fetal Care Center is a regional referral center and national leader in care for any woman and her family whose pregnancy is complicated by a fetal diagnosis that requires additional care and expertise either through management of the pregnancy or through specialized post-delivery care of mother or baby.

Every Life Matters

No parent wants or expects to hear that there is something potentially unusual or different about their much-anticipated baby or upcoming delivery. Unfortunately, many families are faced with this difficult reality. As many as two to three percent of all pregnancies are complicated by fetal abnormalities.

The nationally recognized team of maternal fetal medicine and pediatric specialists at the Advanced Fetal Care Center work with families to diagnose and treat the abnormalities in their unborn and newborn infants.

Bringing together some of the nation’s finest minds in multidisciplinary teams to focus solely on helping each woman and baby, the Center’s mission is to provide comprehensive diagnosis, seamlessly coordinated care, and maternal-fetal treatment for pregnant women with a suspected or confirmed fetal congenital anomaly.

With today’s technology, we find ourselves in the unique position of being able to better prepare our families and our medical team for what their individual baby’s needs will be throughout pregnancy, at delivery, and in the postnatal period. By doing this, we are working to improve postnatal survival rates and long-term outcomes.

Today, with advances in ultrasound, fetal MRI and prenatal genetic testing, we are better equipped to make more accurate diagnoses, intervene when needed, and prepare families for what to expect before delivery and the hours, weeks, and months following delivering. This approach and sharing of knowledge contributes to better understanding for parents and outcomes for infants.

By bridging the prenatal (before birth) and postnatal (after birth) care periods, the Advanced Fetal Care Center serves as a portal of entry for children into well-coordinated, specialized care in our children’s hospital. The MUSC Health Children’s Hospital is the top-ranked children’s hospital in South Carolina and is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Personalized Care Coordination

By integrating the best of MUSC Health’s Children’s Health and Women’s Health programs, our Advanced Fetal Care Center has been designed to deliver the highest quality of care and patient-centered experiences, including early pediatric sub-specialty evaluations, multidisciplinary treatment, personal counseling and support, and seamless care transitions from prenatal to postnatal life.

Infants with congenital anomalies can require especially comprehensive medical care, often including specialized infant and pediatric intensive care units, surgery during the newborn period, and interdisciplinary teams with expertise in congenital anomalies.

A dedicated fetal care navigator works with you to schedule appointments, coordinate care with all specialists needed, organizes hospital tours, streamlines communication and support and provides a direct point of contact for pregnant mothers and families.

Importance of Prenatal Diagnosis

Close collaboration between maternal fetal medicine specialists throughout the state and pediatric subspecialists leads to a higher rate of prenatal detection and better care for children as they transition from prenatal to postnatal life. As a result of the integrated care and prenatal diagnosis, families have more time to cope with difficult news, educate themselves on the best delivery approach and work with our multidisciplinary clinical teams to formulate the best treatment options for their child.

Our subspecialty care teams include:

The Medical Expertise Your Baby Needs

Our medical expertise runs deep and broad at MUSC Health. Conditions treated by our Advanced Fetal Care Center include chest abnormalities, cardiac defects, gastrointestinal disorders, renal and urological disorders, neurologic problems, fetal tumors, genetic abnormalities, and complications of multiple gestation pregnancies. Following are some of the most frequently diagnosed and treated conditions:

Conditions That We Treat

  • Bowel/Intestinal Abnormalities
    • Duodenal and intestinal atresia
    • Gastroschisis
    • Imperforate Anus
    • Omphalocele
    • Pyloric Stenosis
  • Brain Abnormalities
    • Absence of corpus callosum/cavum septum
  • Dandy Walker malformation/variant
    • Hydrocephalus/ Ventriculomegaly
  • Encephalocele
    • Intracranial hemorrhage
    • Intracranial mass/tumor
    • Vein of Galen Aneurysm
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Cleft Lip/and or Palate
  • Clubfoot
  • Congenital High Airway Obstruction (CHAOS)
  • Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH)
  • Congenital Heart Block
  • Congenital Heart Disease
    • Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)
  • Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
  • Transposition of the Great Vessels/Arteries (TGA)
  • Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
  • Esophageal atresia
  • Fetal Anemia/Thrombocytopenia/PUBS
  • Genetic Disorder/Syndrome – prenatally diagnosed
  • Genital Abnormalities
  • Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)
  • Lung Lesions
    • Bronchopulmonary Sequestration (BPS)
    • Congenital Pulmonic Airway Malformation (CPAM)
    • Pleural Effusions
  • Lymphatic Malformations
  • Myelomeningocele /Neural Tube Defect/Spina Bifida
  • Neck Mass
  • Renal Anomalies
    • Hydronephrosis/ Pyelectasis
    • Multicystic/Polycystic Kidney Disease
    • Pelvic Kidney
    • Renal Agenesis
  • Sacrococcygeal Teratoma (SCT)
  • Skeletal dysplasia
  • Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS)
  • Urinary abnormalities
    • Bladder Exstrophy
  • Lower Urinary Tract Obstruction (LUTO)
  • Posterior Urethral Valves (PUV)

Advanced Diagnostic Imaging

Our obstetric and cardiac sonographers are among the best in the field, able to detect and catch what others might not. Our advanced technologies include pediatric cardiologists who specialize in fetal imaging through fetal echocardiography with 2D, color, and pulse Doppler; fetal ultrasound, fetal MRIs, and obstetric imaging.
Fetal echocardiogram

This highly specialized detailed ultrasound examines the fetal heart when an abnormality is suspected.

Fetal ultrasound

The ultrasound utilizes high-frequency sound waves along with a computer to create images of fetal blood vessels, tissues and organs. The imaging gives general information about the position and size of organs as well as how they are functioning.

Fetal MRI

Fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a specialized noninvasive imaging test that may be helpful in evaluating your fetus for congenital anomalies and associated complications.

Genetic Counseling

Our experienced team includes genetic counselors who can provide education and support about the risks, causes, and tests related to genetic and fetal conditions. They can help discuss the potential causes, evaluate and make recommendations for further genetic tests, offer new methods for genetic diagnosis and explain the purpose and results from genetic testing.

Fetal Palliative Care

Palliative care is a team-based specialty that focuses on enhancing quality of life and relieving suffering of those facing a serious illness. Our pediatric palliative care team works with children of all ages and their families. We are especially proud of our involvement with the Advanced Fetal Care Center. We often work with families whose fetus has been diagnosed with a medical condition that is expected to be life-limiting or a serious condition with an uncertain outcome.

We partner with the family and the rest of the care team to provide several services:

  • Help to make sure a family understands the condition.
  • Help to make sure the family understands the possible pathways for care of the child after delivery.
  • Discuss the goals of the family to ensure the care delivered matches these goals.
  • Help with creating a birth plan that reflects family hopes, goals, and values.
  • Support positive coping and grief.

We are involved when fetuses are diagnosed with any number of conditions. Some examples might include:

  • Genetic conditions such as Trisomy 13 and 18
  • Complex heart defects
  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
  • Severe problems with brain development

In the fetal clinic, families meet with a doctor or nurse practitioner and often our social worker. 

Our team continues to provide care once the child is born. We provide a “familiar face” as families meet new healthcare team members involved in their child’s care. We help to ensure understanding of the condition and communicate family wishes and goals to the care team.

For those families who face the unimaginable loss of a child, our team is here to provide support.

Becoming a Patient at the Advanced Fetal Care Center

The Advanced Fetal Care team is ready to meet with you, answer your questions and provide compassionate support so that you make the best informed decisions. You may have your physician call the referral line at 843-792-4477 or you are welcome to call us directly at the same number.

Our team will work with you to schedule a meeting with the Advanced Fetal Care team and secure your medical records, labs, ultrasounds and other diagnostic information. Working with our fetal care navigator, we will help schedule meetings and any testing required.

The Advanced Fetal Care Center is located at 169 Ashley Drive in Charleston.

By integrating the best of MUSC Health’s Children’s Hospital and Women’s Health programs, our Advanced Fetal Care Center has been designed to deliver the highest quality of care and patient-centered experiences, including early pediatric subspecialty evaluations, multidisciplinary treatment, personal counseling and support, and seamless care transitions from prenatal to postnatal life.

Setting Expectations High

Advances in imaging, surgical techniques and better integrated care mean that the bar has been set higher for those who treat congenital anomalies. Our clinicians are no longer satisfied with just the survival of these infants, but rather optimizing quality of life and provide them the opportunity to grow into adults who can function independently. Ensuring prenatal detection of fetal anomalies and providing integrated, multidisciplinary care for both mother and child at MUSC Health’s Advanced Fetal Care Center are the first steps to meeting these great expectations.

The Vision and Mission of the Advanced Fetal Care Center

Vision

The MUSC Advanced Fetal Care Center will be a regional referral center and leader in care for women and their families whose pregnancy is complicated by any fetal diagnosis that requires additional care and expertise either through management of the pregnancy or through specialized post-delivery care of mother or baby. As an exemplary model of integrated women’s and children’s care, the Advanced Fetal Care Center will help elevate MUSC Children’s Hospital and Women’s Pavilion to be a nationally recognized and premier academic medical center.

Mission

The mission of the MUSC Advanced Fetal Care Center is to provide ease of access to personalized and coordinated interdisciplinary prenatal and postnatal care, comprehensive diagnosis and prenatal counseling for families, and maternal-fetal specialist care for pregnant women with a suspected or confirmed fetal congenital anomaly or complication. Using an integrated care model of Women’s Services and Children’s Hospital programs, the Advanced Fetal Care Center will deliver the highest quality clinical care; including a unique focus on family-centered care, early pediatric subspecialty evaluation, specialized diagnostic testing, multidisciplinary care and treatment, collaboration with our families, a strong support from our pediatric Palliative Care team for our most complicated cases, and seamless care transitions from prenatal to postnatal life. The Advanced Fetal Care Center will serve as a portal of entry into a lifetime continuum of specialized care at MUSC for children born with congenital anomalies.

The MUSC Advanced Fetal Care Center Difference

MUSC Health Children’s Hospital is the only institution in South Carolina to be ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s 2018-19 edition of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals.” Among the pediatric programs ranked are:

  • Pediatrics: Cancer
  • Pediatrics: Cardiology & Heart Surgery
  • Pediatrics: Gastroenterology & GI Surgery
  • Pediatrics: Nephrology
  • Pediatrics: Orthopaedics
  • Pediatrics: Urology

The MUSC Women’s Health maternal fetal medicine team is nationally recognized and has been providing prenatal care to South Carolina’s highest risk pregnant mothers for more than three years.

The MUSC Women’s Health Gynecology Service is ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-18 edition of America’s Best Hospitals.

MUSC Health Children’s Hospital has the only Level IV NICU in the region. We have the only ECMO (heart/lung bypass) and the only pediatric cardiac surgery center in the region.

If a child is deprived of oxygen (asphyxiated) at any point in the birthing process, MUSC is the only center with the skilled staff to care for these infants during this very crucial initial time window. If a child requires intubation and assistance via a ventilator for greater than 24 hours, they will be transported here for ongoing care.

MUSC Women’s Health has received a Blue Distinction® Center designation in the area of maternity care for delivering quality care and better overall outcomes for patients, while also meeting key requirements for cost efficiency. Blue Cross Blue Shield companies recognized select doctors, hospitals, and other health care facilities as Blue Distinction for the safe, effective care they provide patients.

MUSC Children’s Health has been recognized as a “shining star” for its deep commitment to a culture of patient safety. In 207, MUSC joined the Child Health Patient Safety Organization, a network of about 60 children’s hospitals and part of the Children’s Hospital Association. The network is dedicated to ensuring all pediatric patients get the safest care available when coming to the hospital.

The MUSC Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit received a Silver Level Beacon Award from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. For patients and families, the Beacon Award signified exceptional care through improved outcomes and greater overall satisfaction. For nurses, a Beacon Award signals a positive and supportive work environment with greater collaboration between colleagues and leaders, high morale, and lower turnover.

Why Choose Our Advanced Fetal Care Center?

Finding out about a congenital anomaly can be worrying enough without trying to seek out the best specialists for the new baby and scheduling time separately with each one. Many times a parent won't even know which specialists are needed... and now they won't have to. Our center was designed to take care of that for new parents, allowing them to simply focus on working with a single, integrated medical care team to take the best possible steps forward for their new child.

"Best Of" Integrated Care Model

By integrating the best of MUSC Health's Children's Hospital and Women's Health programs, our Advanced Fetal Care Center has been designed to deliver the highest quality of care and patient-centered experiences, including early pediatric sub-specialty evaluations, multidisciplinary treatment, personal counseling and support, and seamless care transitions from prenatal to postnatal life.

The Medical Expertise Your Baby Needs

Our medical expertise runs both deep and broad at MUSC Health. Conditions treated by our Advanced Fetal Care Center include chest abnormalities, cardiac defects, gastrointestinal disorders, renal and urological disorders, neurologic problems, fetal tumors, genetic abnormalities, and complications of multiple gestation pregnancies. (See a list of our center's most frequently diagnosed and treated conditions below.)

Personalized Fetal Care Coordination

A dedicated fetal care navigator schedules appointments, coordinates care with all specialists needed, organizes hospital tours, streamlines communication and support, and provides a direct point of contact for pregnant mothers and families.

Advanced Fetal Diagnostic Imaging

Our obstetric and cardiac sonographers are among the best in the field, able to detect and catch what others might not. Our advanced technologies include fetal echocardiography with 2D, color, and pulse Doppler; fetal MRIs, and obstetric imaging.

Advanced Fetal Care Center Navigator

Infants with congenital anomalies can require especially comprehensive medical care, often including specialized infant and pediatric intensive care units, surgery during the newborn period, and interdisciplinary teams with expertise in congenital anomalies. 

Meet our Advanced Fetal Care Center navigator; she'll be your liaison and guide throughout your pregnancy. And read about two of the first champions of the Advanced Fetal Care Center, Dr. Sinai Zyblewski and Dr. Gene Chang, who have each been instrumental in so many young children's lives across South Carolina.

For Patient and Physician Inquiries

Direct Phone: 843-792-4477
AFCC Fax: 843-792-9373

 

Locations

University Hospital

171 Ashley Avenue
Charleston, SC 29425

Our Care Team

Our experience and expertise: