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New Children's National Fetal Medicine Institute Offers Advanced Diagnostics and Patient Care

Washington, DC— For expectant parents, waiting for news about the health of their unborn children can be extremely stressful. During a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday afternoon, the Children’s National Health System opened the Fetal Medicine Institute to provide these parents with advanced fetal and newborn care and cutting-edge diagnostics.

“We feel that the main challenge for fetal medicine, in general, remains diagnostic. Being able to detect a fetus that is not thriving is still difficult. Our long-term goal is to intervene before fetuses become harmed by an adverse intrauterine environment,” says Adré J. du Plessis, MBChB, MPH, Division Chief of Fetal and Transitional Medicine and Director of the Fetal Medicine Institute at Children’s National.

The new 3,400 square foot space is centrally located on the third floor of the Sheikh Zayed Campus for Advanced Children’s Medicine in Washington, DC.

“We’ve designed the Fetal Medicine Institute such that clinicians, researchers, and academics are all working in close proximity with each other,” says Dr. du Plessis. “One of the cornerstones of our program is that we strive to maintain a very short pipeline between our research and clinical activities, and in so doing, minimize unnecessary delays between our diagnostic advances in the laboratories, and the benefit they might have for babies.”

The Institute uses advanced fetal imaging, telecommunications and video conferencing, and state-of-the-art consultation rooms for families. With a strong emphasis on telemedicine, the Institute can easily include referring physicians in patient consults with its fetal team.  

The fetal team at Children’s National consists of more than 50 specialists from 16 medical disciplines. This breadth of medical expertise at Children’s National ensures that the prenatal and postnatal care provided for a range of conditions is comprehensive and tailored to the patient.  In fact, Children’s National is one of the few hospitals worldwide with a fetal neuroradiology team that uses advanced diagnostic imaging to care for the developing fetal brain. Annually, the fetal team evaluates almost 600 fetal ultrasounds, more than 500 fetal MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging), and 2,500 fetal echocardiograms.

Contact: Emily Hartman or Caitlyn Camacho at 202-476-4500.

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