The Cardiovascular System

  • Michael T. Ashworth

In the past few decades there has been a great expansion in our knowledge of fetal and neonatal heart disease. The application of the techniques of molecular biology to the investigation of the developing embryo has revolutionized our understanding of the formation of the heart and has given great insights into the genes involved in its control. The development of the normal heart and its deviations from normal in disease are dynamic processes that change throughout pregnancy and postnatal life. The use of high-resolution echocardiography has provided previously undreamed of insights into normal physiological processes both in utero and after birth. The increasingly good results of pediatric cardiac surgery and the possibility of cardiac transplantation have given hope for conditions that were previously hopeless. In addition to all this, the careful longitudinal study of heart defects in utero has allowed us to chart the natural progression of lesions before birth and raises the tantalizing possibility of in-utero therapy before secondary changes convert a bad situation into a hopeless one. Now, more than ever, it behooves the pathologist to understand cardiovascular pathology from the stage of heart development to the postnatal period, and a close working relationship with colleagues—cardiologists, surgeons, fetal medicine specialists, and geneticists—is essential if the optimal diagnostic and treatment goals are to be realized for this group of patients and their families.


Tricuspid Valve Ventricular Septal Defect Ventricular Septal Defect Interventricular Septum Atrial Appendage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael T. Ashworth
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistopathologyGreat Ormond Street Hospital for ChildrenLondonUK

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