Friday, May 30, 2008

Echogenic Intracardiac Focus

I didn't think it was possible to have too many ultrasounds but today I reached my limit. Ultrasounds are so advanced nowadays that they're finding things that I just don't want to know about! This morning the tech spent an unusual amount of time looking at the baby's heart- in particular, a small white spot on the left ventricle. When I asked her about it, she clammed up and told me that I had to talk to the doctor. So I left her office in tears and waited to see the doctor. I cried while they drew my blood, while they weighed me, while they took my blood pressure... I couldn't keep it together, imagining life with a sick child. 
Well, word must have spread around the office that I was an emotional wreck because the doctor came breezing in and immediately assured that I had nothing to worry about. Its called an echogenic intracardiac focus and its found in roughly 3-5% of pregnancies. Its like a cyst or calcium deposit, they're almost always benign and usually disappear eventually. 
Now, why couldn't the tech tell me that instead of letting me wait and worry!!! Ugh. I'd be much happier in my ignorance. I don't want another ultrasound for a long time. 


Jen said...

hi, i was googling this EIF thing and I came across your blog. My blog is private but you can email to check out my blog. I am 19 weeks and was told my son has an EIF as well. I am 29 so the drs. think there is a slim chance based on the today's ultrasound at the specialist that I will have a baby with DS. They sure know how to put us women into a panic!! Feel free to email to vent anytime! -JEn

Lexi said...

Lexi had that too. I believe it was in the right side though. The tech was very nice though and said there should be nothing to worry about, but that I would have another ultrasound at the hospital to check it out more. After that ultrasound, they said they were checking for down syndrome, but it appeared she didn't have it. They couldn't be sure, and if I wanted to do an amnio, I could, but she didn't recommend it. That was it. And Lexi was perfectly fine. But the stupid tech should have told you at least something so you wouldn't worry.


Anonymous said...


I found your blog looking for you Mom. I am a friend of hers from Kuwiat and would REALLY like to get intouch with her. Please have her email Jenny. I have sent an email to her gmail with no response.


Sorry I didnt actully respond to your blog posting, hope things go well with you.

Anonymous said...

I just went last week to a specialist and they too found a EIF on the baby's heart. The tech and the specialist were both a little rude and asked if I wanted an amniocentesis right then because my time was limited to terminate. This sent me into panic mode. You expect your big ultrasound to be a happy experience and instead I was a train wreck. My regular doctor refered me to a highly recommended specialist across town and I went today only to be told it was nothing to worry about. He said my baby looked great and if I were his daughter or his wife he would not suggest the amniocentesis. So for a week I have been so upset and now tonight I think I will sleep a little better.

Best of luck to you.

bunzi said...

It happened to me yesterday. The doctor told me the results. I'm still in tears....

Anonymous said...

I was in for a routine check up in the Dr's office yesterday and he mentioned this spot and that I would be referred out to get another ultrasound to check it out. He simply told me that 5% of healthy babies are born with this spot, leading me to believe that my baby had a 95% chance of being born with DS. Needless to say I was devastated leaving the office until I did my own research on-line and found out more information. I now have to wait almost 2 weeks for the specialist to get more accurate information.

Relieved Mom-to-Be said...

Thank you guys so much for posting your comments. I just came from my doctor's office and she told me that my baby has an EIF, and I have to wait over 2 weeks for a more detailed ultrasound. I cried the whole way home thinking of having a child with down syndrome.

My husband and I have had 1 miscarriage early on in my first pregnancy, so naturally with this one every little ache or pain has me worried that there's another heart ache about to happen.

I'm only 24, and my husband and I both have no occurrences of DS in either of our families. I checked out other sites, but found it hard to get through all the medical terms. I feel a lot better knowing that this doesn't mean my child will have down syndrome and it could be nothing.


Anonymous said...

The baby book I read said that most of these tests are needless and only cause worry in the mother. I didn't listen to my gut, and went ahead with the 18 week ultrasound anyway.

My baby has EIF AND I have a low-lying placenta. Since I'm 36 I now have to worry if 1) the EIF is a marker for DS, 2) the EIF means my baby has a heart problem, and 3) the low-lying placenta means I'll need a c-section. Great.

My midwife told me that both the EIF and the low-lying placenta are usually gone/resolved by 28+ weeks, which means I'll spend the next 10 weeks worrying about this.

Next time I'll listen to my gut, pass up the earlier tests, and get the 28 week ultrasound just to make sure everything is okay at that point and skip out on the 10 weeks of anguish.

Anonymous said...

I just found out my baby has an EIF in the left ventricle too and the doctor referred me to another prenatal diagnostic. I havent slept all night and my appointment is only until 2 days later. I'm told its just a normal ultrasound and am keeping my fingers crossed. It really helps a lot though to read about others who've been through the same.

Vazellie said...

Just had my 21 week check up. I am pregnant with fraternal twin girls. I was told today that the doctor that reviewed my level two ultrasound noted an EIF in the left vintricle of twin B. I'm perplexed because the doctor came in during my ultrasound and said everything looked great. I did not send my bloodwork through due to so many false positives but my OB did encourage the level 2. She said she will call the other doctor and more than likely I have to have another level two. I am concerned but I am really trying to think positive and not stress about something I cannot control. I eat really healthy and take care of myself and that is all I can do. Pray for us, please! And thank you to all who have posted their experiences. I was unaware of EIF upon leaving the doctors today up until 2 hours ago when I went on line to research. The doctors don't tell you anything and when they do, you're not sure if it's ok or not.
Thanks, girls!

Rebecca Komer-Bright, L.Ac. said...

I'm 22 weeks along and I too have been told my baby has an EIF. This is some information I found that made me feel less anxious and hope that it helps put those statistics in perspective for other mothers.:

"The white spot on the heart is called echogenic intracardiac focus and usually means there's a calcification of one of the papillary muscles. It is found in about 7% of ultrasounds at 13-16 weeks and 3% at 20-22 weeks (the incidence can be as high as 30% in Asians).

Noted to be present in 25% of Downs Syndrome fetuses and 5% of normal fetuses. The risk of Downs Syndrome in a fetus with echogenic intracardiac focus in about 0.002%.

Karyotyping is not warranted. The risk of amnio far outweighs the risk of Downs in a low risk population. They usually resolve spontaneously and babies are born normal. Pt may choose to have triple marker screen. Patients may be referred to genetics for counseling if exceptionally anxious about this finding."

I am scheduled for another ultrasound but have decided against it. I have no other markers for Downs - did not get the amnio, would not terminate this baby if any markers were there anyway. I think there is too much technology in birthing these days and the doctors don't have all the answers. I don't want numbers and statistics deciding the fate of my child. I wonder how many of us would be here if these options were present when we were fetuses, could I have been a "False-Positive?" I would also love to hear how the 1st poster's (JEN) pregnancy turned out - I am betting she had a healthy baby. Best of luck to you all!

Angie said...

Thanks for all of this information. My 20-week ultrasound found a echogenic focus in the left ventricle as well. I had the first trimester screening and the second trimester screening, both of which had normal (good!) results. My doctor said I didn't have to have a level 2 ultrasound unless I chose to do so. I am going to do it, but I am terrified. I just feel so uninformed.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone! I am 29 years old and this is my first pregnancy. I was scared to death when they found an echogenic focus on my babies heart during my anatomy scan. This was suppossed to be a joyful event ..instead all I can wonder is if my little boy will have dS. I agree that there are just too many ultrasounds and tests being done. The doctors can also be very cold and they don't understand how scary statistics are! I don't understand what it means to have a 1 - in 5, 000 chance to have a baby with DS. All I can think about is that 1 %. Its so scary.

kiersten said...

Wow. I am amazed that all of you are getting these tests! I am a 49 yr old mom who had her last child in 2001. High risk, but all the ultra sounds showed nothing. Dr.'s were not worried about anything yet I kept telling them that this was different, the baby didn't move the same. I knew something was wrong. He had a HUGE AV/canal that had to be repaired, almost died in an emergency C-section. They noticed nothing all along. Did not even think he had Down Syndrome until my husband insisted they get a neonatal doc in there. He does have DS, but he is SMART and the joy of our lives. I couldn't imagine him any other way. I hope that all of you have healthy, happy babies, but DS is not to be feared. It is the heart problems, etc. that need to be noticed and cared for. My little guy is thriving, is in First grade and reading, doing math, and talking non-stop. Yes, you can understand him. The doctors often act as if DS is the end of the world. For us, it was a blessing that I could NEVER have known to ask for until it was a reality. While we do not feel as though we can afford to adopt, if I COULD adopt, I would adopt a child with DS. Breathe easy. There are worse things to worry about. :)

jaytay said...

More than a year later, this is still some of the most comforting news I have heard all day. I had my monthly appointment today and my husband and I were told that our son has an EIF. We were told the statistics and not to worry, but as we all know, tha just isn't possible. I am 26 yrs old, 20weeks along with our first child and I too cried the whole way home. I agree that these are things we don't really need to know as pregnant, vunerable, emotional women if their is little to know risk associated with them. I have been told to get a quad screen blood test done immediately to see if my son might have DS. I wouldn't have even agreed to that if my husband didnt want me to do it. I will love my son regardless. However, it was refreshing and reassuring to read the post from the mother of a DS child. It seems like throughout my entire pregnancy my doctors have been trying to test for it like its the end of the world, but it sounds like it is a manageable condition and your child can thrive. Thank you to you all! I think I will rest a little easier now that I have read your posts about this minute and mostly harmless condition.

Ranisa said...

Same results on my ultra sound today. I noticed something and the tex wasn't saying anything. BUT they are NOT ALLOWED to say anything. They are not doctors. Your tex should not have even said what she said to begin with.

Alison said...

I found out my baby has an EIF on his heart too. Since I found out, I've done extensive research because I was totally freaked out after finding out. This article should really help all the worried women out there feel alot better.

Andrea said...

this helps so much. having a more detailed u/s on the 18th and am still a little nervous. what mom wouldnt be? i cried when he mentioned the EIF within seconds. im a first time mommy and would feel so at fault even though i know its nothing to do with me.

Jenifer Parris said...

Even though this is an old post, I wanted to comment and share. Just like the mom above, we have a daughter with Down syndrome with an AV Canal defect and she is the light of our life!!!! Her diagnosis does not define her. She can do all the same things typical children can do, it just might take a little bit longer. I wouldn't trade all of her sweetness for anything in the world! There is nothing to be afraid of. Your life not be exactly as you expected but it will be wonderful just the same! God bless!

Shri said...

I am 29 yrs old and first time mommy to be. My OB also found EIF on left ventrical of my baby's heart. I am reading and searching different articles and trying to be calm but it's not easy for me. I don't know what to do..

Anonymous said...

Thank you soo much for this post. I found out today that my baby has EIF and I freaked out until I read your post. The doctor recomended me to a genetic specialist but I rather not go and just run with faith that everything is going to be just fine.

Justwentthroughthis said...

I found this blog post by searching echogenic intracardiac focus. I found the blog post & the comments very helpful.

At my baby's 20 week ultrasound the found an EIF and because I'm almost 40 - they had me thinking it was Down's syndrome. Only because the EIF & my age. No other markers.

Well had the Maternity 21 test & all is well thankfully. We would have loved our baby no matter what.

It seemed like a long wait for the results (only a week) but it was well worth it.

If they see EIF - it is not the end of the world. Just think positive & it will all be good. :)

Jessica said...

I too found this blog, googling EIF. I am so unsure what to think, we had the first trimester screening done, with all came back normal. The baby had a nasal bone, the neck measurement was fine, and the bloodwork came back normal. We had a 20 week ultra sound today and were told there was an EIF shown. We have now be refered to genetics again for another ultrasound, I understand its better safe than sorry but in some ways i feel like this is over kill when the DS testing at 13 weeks came back normal. Anyone had a similar experience?

JustWentThroughThis said...

@ Jessica:

What type of testing did you have done? Was is the AFP? If so there is a high error margin w/that test.

As for any more testing - it is all up to you. If you're not going to do anything different than originally planned & you're OK with waiting - you should be all set.

I know for me - I would have loved our baby no matter what they found.

But I'm one of those people who can't stand NOT knowing what's going on. Although I would not have any invasive testing done. So, for me, the Maternity 21 test was the best option.

Again, it's all up you - follow what your gut says to do. You can't go wrong that way.

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience. All my tests came back normal, quad & 12 week ultrasound. Now at 21 weeks they found EIF. I did the genetics counseling & it was just a lot of stats that don't mean anything to me b/c every situation & every woman is different. I decided against the amnio b/c there is just too much risk involved for me to even consider it. I am 31 & both the father & I are healthy. We are just overjoyed to be having a baby girl & are keeping the faith that she will be just fine. Good luck to you! It helps to know that our cases are not isolated. So this clearly is not such an unusual result, as they would like us to believe. I'm sure we will all have perfectly beautiful & healthy babies.

Good luck to us all!