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Pregnancy

Detected a calcium deposit on fetus heart

10/21/2002

Question:

My brother and his girlfriend are expecting. She is 20 weeks and at her last ultrasound the tech said that the baby had a calcium deposit on heart. They said this could be a symptom of down syndrome, but her triple test came back negative and the tech said that all the babys limbs are growing how they should be and everything else is all right. She is going to have an amnio done. There is no family history of downs either. Is there a chance this baby could have downs or what do you think this could be. The doctor also told them that this deposit could just dissolve or the baby could be born with it and be just fine. What other signs can they look for to seee if this baby has downs while doing an ultrasound

Answer:

The finding that the ultrasonographer was talking about is an echogenic cardiac focus. This is a non-specific finding that, in my experience, is usually attributable to a prominent heart tendon which is totally normal. Calcium deposits are unusual and my suspicion is this is not what is happening. As with any of the isolated ultrasound findings, a single abnormal finding is usually not concerning. With an otherwise normal ultrasound and normal triple screen, it would seem that everything is reassuring. Down`s syndrome usually does not have a family history and is increased with maternal age. Triple screen detects 60% of Down`s syndrome fetuses and a detailed ultrasound increases the detection rate.

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Response by:

Arthur T Ollendorff, MD Arthur T Ollendorff, MD
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati