Project determines new exams for pregnant women in the SUS| Photo: Disclosure/ Canva

The Senate approved, this Tuesday (23), the inclusion of fetal echocardiography and transvaginal ultrasonography in the prenatal care of pregnant women attended by the public health network. The matter requires the Unified Health System (SUS), subject to budgetary availability, to carry out new procedures in the protocol of assistance to pregnant women to ensure the early identification and timely correction of abnormalities in the baby in the intrauterine phase. The project provides for two transvaginal ultrasound exams during the first four months of pregnancy, which is recommended for monitoring the cervix, as problems in this organ can lead to miscarriages or premature births.

In the case of the fetal echocardiogram in the SUS, this was an exam indicated only for pregnant women in whom the risk of cardiac malformation in the baby is higher, such as in diabetics, hypertensive women and women using medication, or even when there is suspicion of genetic alteration, such as Down’s syndrome. Outside of these indications, the pregnant woman cannot take the exam through the SUS and the private exam costs, on average, from R$200 to R$600. “It is a very high cost for most Brazilians, but one that could determine the life or death of a baby”, explains the parliamentarian in the project.

The exam allows diagnosing congenital heart diseases, arrhythmias or functional disturbances of the fetal heart. According to the project, “congenital heart defects are among the most common malformations in human fetuses. Due to their poor prognosis, they contribute significantly to infant mortality, becoming responsible for about 10% of infant deaths and half of deaths due to congenital malformation” .

With the realization of the exams by the SUS, the project also establishes that “if any alteration is found that puts the pregnancy at risk, the doctor will refer the pregnant woman for adequate medical treatment in order to safeguard her life”.

The proposal is authored by former federal deputy and current senator Weverton Rocha (PDT-MA) and, as it has already been approved by the Chamber of Deputies, it is now awaiting presidential approval.