Maternal Chronic Disease Linked to Increased Risk of Cardiac Birth Defects in Offspring Interview with:
Prof. Chung-Yi Li
Department of Public Health College of Medicine
National Cheng Kung University
Tainan Taiwan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Congenital heart disease is the leading congenital malformation that causes perinatal and infant deaths. However, little information is available about the risk factors, especially modifiable environmental and behavioral factors that may have posed adverse effects on fetal cardiac development. We conducted a nationwide population-based study in Taiwan to further evaluate the potential role of maternal chronic diseases in the risk of developing congenital heart disease in offspring.

We found that children of women with several kinds of chronic disease were at elevated risk for congenital heart disease; these diseases included type 1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, congenital heart defects, anemia, connective tissue disorders, epilepsy, and mood disorders. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Preconception counselling and optimum treatments for pregnant women with the aforementioned chronic diseases are crucial in preventing congenital heart disease in offspring. Additionally, for pregnant women who are at a higher risk of giving birth to children with congenital heart disease, more frequent prenatal screening (with fetal echocardiography) may be warranted. Early recognition of congenital heart disease may also allow optimal preparation and care during pregnancy, delivery and the postnatal period. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: The pathophysiologic factors underlying the association between maternal chronic disease and congenital heart disease in offspring remained unanswered. Future studies that may help illustrate the associations observed in this study are needed. Thank you for your contribution to the community.

Hsin-Hsu Chou, Meng-Jiun Chiou, Fu-Wen Liang, Lea-Hua Chen,Tsung-Hsueh Lu, and Chung-Yi Li

Association of maternal chronic disease with risk of congenital heart disease in offspringCMAJ cmaj.160061; published ahead of print October 11, 2016,

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on October 14, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD