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Artificial intelligence, fetal echocardiography, and congenital heart disease

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-742
Number of pages10
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Issue number6
PublishedMay 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (IEH Award, 102431), by core funding from the Wellcome/EPSRC Centre for Medical Engineering (WT203148/Z/16/Z) and by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre based at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London and the NIHR Clinical Research Facility. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Authors. Prenatal Diagnosis published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


There has been a recent explosion in the use of artificial intelligence (AI), which is now part of our everyday lives. Uptake in medicine has been more limited, although in several fields there have been encouraging results showing excellent performance when AI is used to assist in a well‐defined medical task. Most of this work has been performed using retrospective data, and there have been few clinical trials published using prospective data. This review focuses on the potential uses of AI in the field of fetal cardiology. Ultrasound of the fetal heart is highly specific and sensitive in experienced hands, but despite this there is significant room for improvement in the rates of prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart disease in most countries. AI may be one way of improving this. Other potential applications in fetal cardiology include the provision of more accurate prognoses for individuals, and automatic quantification of various metrics including cardiac function. However, there are also ethical and governance concerns. These will need to be overcome before AI can be widely accepted in mainstream use. It is likely that a familiarity of the uses, and pitfalls, of AI will soon be mandatory for many healthcare professionals working in fetal cardiology.

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