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The Stollery Children's Hospital is the main referral site for congenital cardiac surgery throughout most of Western Canada and also the referral site through the Fetal and Neonatal Cardiology Program for high risk pregnancies with a fetus with suspected congenital or acquired heart disease from within Alberta and from other Western provinces. The fetal cardiologists from the University of Alberta are responsible for providing fetal echocardiography services, including first trimester assessments (from 10 weeks), at the Royal Alexandra Hospital which is the largest obstetrical, perinatal and neonatal centre in Alberta. Currently the program performs over 1,800 fetal echocardiograms annually. The fellows and faculty of the service also provide cardiology consultative services to the Royal Alexandra Hospital NICU.

Clinical training experience

During rotations through the echocardiography laboratory at Stollery Children's Hospital and the Royal Alexandra Hospital, the trainee will:

  • gain experience in transabdominal and transvaginal fetal echocardiography and the assessment of a broad spectrum of structural and functional fetal heart disease and fetal arrhythmias
  • participate in counseling of affected pregnancies as well as prenatal, perinatal and neonatal management planning and execution with supervision
  • be expected to attend and even present at weekly fetal cardiac rounds and the multidisciplinary perinatal rounds
  • be encouraged to attend the pediatric cardiothoracic surgical rounds
  • participate in transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiographic studies at the Stollery Children's Hospital

Research experience

All fellows are expected to participate in at least one to two research initiatives per year of training under the supervision of faculty. The fellows gain experience in generating a research proposal(s) with hypothesis driven objectives, documentation of knowledge gaps in the field, and use of appropriate methodology. The research outcomes are presented locally and should culminate in one or more abstract presentations at national and/or international scientific conferences and one or more peer-reviewed publication.

Training in fetal and neonatal cardiology/echocardiography at the University of Alberta will allow the fellow to function independently as a fetal cardiologist and pediatric echocardiographer in their future position of employment. The program provides a combination of clinical fetal and pediatric echocardiographic training, teaching and academic/research activities. Opportunities are also available for individuals with a background in neonatology to train in neonatal echocardiography within the Fetal Cardiology/Echocardiography Fellowship Program.

Teaching experience

All fellows are expected to participate in formal and informal teaching sessions for the pediatric cardiology trainees and other pediatric cardiology subspecialty fellows. Fetal cardiology fellows will also participate in perinatal, obstetrical and neonatal teaching sessions that relate to prenatal diagnosis and perinatal/neonatal management planning.

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