- Mothers of babies born with congenital heart defects may also be at increased risk of developing heart disease later finds study
- Heart disease is one of the most common birth defects; it affects between 4 and 75 per 1,000 live births
Women giving birth to babies with heart defects may be at increased risk of heart disease later in life, according to recent study that appears in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.
Aim of StudyCongenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defects.
The study hoped to find if there might be any association between having babies with congenital heart defects and development of heart disease in the mothers in future, so that preventive measures and interventions could be instituted earlier.
Details of the Study
- The study team analyzed data on women who delivered babies between 1989 and 2013 in Quebec, Canada, with either critical, noncritical or no heart defects.
- Nearly a million women participated in the study
- The women were followed up for almost 25 years after pregnancy for hospital admissions related to heart disease such as heart attack, heart failure, blood vessel disease and heart transplants
Findings of the StudyIn comparison to women who gave birth to babies without Congenital Heart Defects it was found that:
- Women who gave birth to babies with critical heart defects showed a 43 percent higher risk of any cardiovascular hospitalization
- Mothers of babies with non-critical heart defects had a 24 percent higher risk of any cardiovascular hospitalization
‘Women who have given birth to babies with congenital heart defects must have regular follow-ups and preventive strategies in place to reduce their future risk of heart disease.’
- It is not clear how giving birth to infants with congenital heart disease increases risk of heart disease in the mothers, however the study team feel that there may be a genetic component involved.
- Also, because 85 percent of babies with heart defects now survive past adolescence, and the psychosocial impact and stress on caregivers of children with heart disease may have a cumulative effect over the long term.
Potential Limitations of Study
- Most women were young at the start of study, and so for many of them, the 25-year follow-up did not extend beyond menopause, which excluded the highest risk period for heart disease from the point of view of the study.
- The scientists used available medical data, and did not have detailed risk factor information on the women, such as BMI, smoking history or other medical conditions.
Takeaway from StudyHeart disease is a leading cause of mortality in women. This study offers an opportunity for these women to be counseled and educated on putting in place preventive measures such as quitting smoking, regular exercise and maintaining healthy weight and following a healthy diet to reduce this risk.
According to Auger, "Those physicians (obstetricians and heath care providers) are very well-positioned to inform women about this possibility i.e. the greater risk of heart disease, and to provide recommendations for targeting other risk factors like smoking, obesity and physical activity."
About Congenital Heart DiseaseCongenital heart defects are structural abnormalities of the heart or major blood vessels occurring during development of the fetus within the womb. At least 18 different types of congenital heart defects are known, with several anatomic variations. In most cases the cause is not known.
Recent advances in diagnosis and treatment (surgery and heart catheterization) enables treatment of most of these conditions, thus improving the outcome for these persons.
Types of Critical Congenital Heart Diseases (CCHDs)Critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) refers to a group of heart defects that cause serious, life-threatening symptoms and may require surgery or other procedures within the first few days or first year of life. These include:
- Coarctation of the aorta
- Double-outlet right ventricle
- Transposition of the great arteries
- Ebstein anomaly
- Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
- Interrupted aortic arch
- Pulmonary atresia (with intact septum)
- Single ventricle
- Total anomalous pulmonary venous return
- Tetralogy of Fallot
- Tricuspid atresia
- Truncus arteriosus
- Common Types of Heart Defects - (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/AboutCongenitalHeartDefects/Common-Types-of-Heart-Defects_UCM_307017_Article.jsp#.Wr-rP_lubIU)
- Congenital heart defect - (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congenital_heart_defect)
- Facts about Critical Congenital Heart Defects -