Training international students
Brazilian-born Dr Julene Carvalho trained as a paediatric cardiologist at Royal Brompton Hospital more than 20 years ago and now trains students from all over the world herself.
She says: “I understand the position overseas students are in and how challenging it is to learn a different language, culture and systems. I train fellows from countries as diverse as Italy, Turkey, France and Malaysia in fetal and paediatric cardiology.”
Dr Carvalho also works closely with obstetricians and obstetric ultrasonographers to improve recognition of congenital heart disease before birth and show them how to get better results and improve diagnosis.
She says: “Fetal cardiology is a relatively new area in the obstetric world and creating a lot of interest worldwide. It is very difficult to detect heart abnormalities in unborn babies as the heart is constantly moving. That is why centres of excellence, such as Royal Brompton Hospital, are called on to train our international colleagues.”
Dr Carvalho has delivered lectures, hands-on training and live scans at major international paediatric cardiology events in Bangkok, Hong Kong, South America, Italy and London.
She has developed a special interest in imaging the fetal heart using ultrasound in high-risk pregnancies at 12 to 13 weeks, earlier than the standard 18 weeks.
Dr Carvalho says: “We now have a dedicated fetal clinic at Royal Brompton Hospital. This means that pregnant women who already have a child with heart abnormalities or have a heart condition themselves can be scanned here. I have even scanned pregnant women who I scanned in the womb many years before!”
Dr Carvalho is a member of the editorial board of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology – one of the leading international journals in the field. She has been published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and is an honorary senior lecturer at the Imperial College National Heart and Lung Institute and St George’s Hospital Medical School.
The Fetal Heart is an educational enterprise dedicated to the fetal heart and especially to its imaging during pregnancy. The website, developed by Dr Carvalho, features case studies, video clips and online training tips and techniques.