A fetal telecardiology service: patient preference and socio-economic factors

Brian A McCrossan, Andrew J Sands, Theresa Kileen, Nicola N Doherty, Frank A Casey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to evaluate patients' opinions on a fetal cardiology telemedicine service compared with usual outpatient care, the effect of the telemedicine consultation on maternal anxiety and its impact on travel times and time absent from work.

METHODS: Prospective study over 20 months. Eligible patients attended for routine anomaly scan followed by fetal echocardiogram transmitted to the regional centre with live guidance by a fetal cardiologist, followed by parental counselling. All patients were offered a fetal cardiology appointment at the regional centre. Structured questionnaires assessing maternal satisfaction, travel times/days off and anxiety scores completed at time of both fetal echocardiograms.

RESULTS: Sixty-seven patients were recruited and 66 completed the study. Participants expressed very high satisfaction rates with fetal telecardiology, equivalent to face-to-face consultation. The telecardiology appointments were associated with significantly reduced travel times and days off work (p < 0.01). Expectant mothers expressed a clear inclination for a fetal cardiology appointment at the local hospital facilitated by telemedicine (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Fetal telecardiology is highly acceptable to patients and is even preferred compared with travelling to a regional centre. There are additional socio-economic benefits that should encourage the development of remote fetal cardiology services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-7
Number of pages5
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Issue number9
Early online date21 Jun 2012
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Sept 2012

Bibliographical note

© 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care/psychology
  • Anxiety/epidemiology
  • Cardiology Service, Hospital/organization & administration
  • Echocardiography/economics
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases/diagnosis
  • Heart Diseases/congenital
  • Humans
  • Patient Preference/economics
  • Patient Satisfaction/statistics & numerical data
  • Perinatology/methods
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis/economics
  • Referral and Consultation/organization & administration
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Telemedicine/economics
  • Young Adult


Dive into the research topics of 'A fetal telecardiology service: patient preference and socio-economic factors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this