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Echogenic Cardiac Focus

An echogenic cardiac focus (ECF, also known as echogenic chordae) refers to a bright spot seen in the fetal heart by ultrasound.

Causes of ECF

An echogenic focus is not a sign of a heart defect. Children with echogenic foci have normal hearts.

Some studies suggest the small possibility of a link between ECF and Down syndrome. If a high-resolution ultrasound finds that ECF is the only abnormality, there is no increased risk. If the ultrasound picks up other problems, there is a higher risk. Most cases develop normally, however.

Further testing

  • You can have a more detailed ultrasound to look for other abnormalities.
  • The maternal serum screening can assess your risk of having a baby with Down syndrome, through 21 weeks' gestation.
  • An amniocentesis can diagnose a chromosome abnormality. During an amniocentesis, your doctor will take a sample of the fluid surrounding the baby, which is then used to study the fetal chromosomes. There is a small risk of miscarriage from amniocentesis.
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