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J Pediatr. 2009 Jul;155(1):26-31, 31.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.01.050. Epub 2009 Apr 24.

Prenatal detection of congenital heart disease.

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Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, USA.



To define current frequency of prenatal detection of congenital heart disease (CHD), factors affecting prenatal detection, and its influence on postnatal course.


We prospectively identified all fetuses and infants < or =6 months of age with major CHD at 3 referral centers in Northern California over 1 year; we obtained prenatal and demographic data, reviewed prenatal ultrasound (US) and postnatal records, and used logistic regression to analyze maternal, fetal, and prenatal-care provider risk factors for prenatal diagnosis.


Ninety-eight of 309 infants with major CHD had prenatal diagnosis (36% accounting for 27 pregnancy terminations); 185 infant-families participated in the postnatal survey, and although 99% had prenatal US, only 28% were prenatally diagnosed. Anomalous pulmonary venous return (0%), transposition of the great arteries (19%), and left obstructive lesions (23%) had the lowest prenatal detection. Heterotaxy (82%), single ventricle (64%), and HLHS (61%) had the highest. Prenatal diagnosis was higher at university versus community practices (P = .001). Sociodemographics were not associated with prenatal diagnosis. Infants diagnosed prenatally were less frequently ventilated (P < .01) or treated with prostaglandin (P < .05).


Prenatal detection of major CHD significantly alters postnatal course but remains low despite nearly universal US. CHD type and US practice type are important determinants of prenatal detection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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