Isolated Intracardiac Echogenic Focus on Routine Ultrasound: Implications for Practice

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Ultrasound is widely used as a screening tool for fetal anomalies. An intracardiac echogenic focus (ICEF) is associated with fetal aneuploidy, particularly trisomy 21, when found with other minor abnormalities known as soft markers. However, when found in isolation, intracardiac echogenic foci are morphologic variations with little or no pathologic significance for the fetus. Ambiguity about the significance of ICEF and other soft markers and the lack of preparation prior to ultrasound can result in unnecessary worry for women and their partners. A variety of tools exist that providers can use to help pregnant women and their partners make informed decisions about ultrasound and fetal screening.

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