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Dr. C.
Dr. C., Board Certified
Category: OB GYN
Satisfied Customers: 3064
Experience:  30 yrs experience, awarding winning educator
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My partner had just come back from our 20 week scan and have

Customer Question

My partner had just come back from our 20 week scan and have been told there is fluid around the heart of our unborn. So pericardial effusion? What is the prognosis? The likelihood that our child is going to survive are there any complications we can expect after birth if we make it that far? :-( We cant see the doctor for another 3 days we are really scared
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: OB GYN
Expert:  Dr. C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi and welcome to the site. My name is***** and I'll be providing your medical information today.

It really depends completely on the thickness of the measurement of the effusion. Pericardial effusions in the range of 2-7 mm aren't associated with any problems in particular.

Effusions of greater than 7 mm are more concerning. But it depends on the cause of the effusion. It may be something that is very manageable and correctable, like a minor cardiac anomoly or the start of something more serious, like a hydrops.

Survival and complication rate is totally dependent on what is going on and there isn't enough information right now to say what it could be.

I'm really sorry that you have to go into the weekend with this unknown. DO you happen to know the measurement of the effusion? Maybe you can call the office and get that piece of information. If it's 7mm or less, that is really much less concerning.

The next step will likely be to get a very specific echocardiogram of the baby's heart. Hydrops which is more serious is much less likely since it's likely your partner has had some blood tests that would have already alerted the doctor to the possiblity of hydrops developing. Also if the baby is a singleton and not a twin, the risks are lower and prognosis better.

When it comes to these kinds of things the UNKNOWN is always the worst part. Not knowing what is going on is one of the most difficult emotional feelings.

Once you're able to get more information on Monday you will start to feel much better no matter what. Your doctor is a professional and has dealt with this situation before most likely. With careful attention and help, the vast majority of outcomes turn out very well for all involved. Proper care makes a huge difference.

SO try to hang in there until you know more. Remember that most pleural effusions are less than 7 mm and even if greater, with good care outcomes excellent.

The worse part really is the not knowing.

I hope this has been somewhat reassuring. But only time will really help. Please reply if I can clarify anything. I want to be sure you have the most helpful information for your situation.
Expert:  Dr. C. replied 2 years ago.
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