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Am J Cardiol. 2011 Feb 1;107(3):466-71. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2010.09.045.

Complex congenital heart disease in unaffected relatives of adults with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.

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Toronto Congenital Cardiac Centre for Adults, University of Toronto, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, University Health Network/Toronto General Hospital, Ontario, Canada.


The 22.q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) is a common genetic condition associated with 22q11.2 microdeletions and classically has included congenital heart disease (CHD) as a part of the variable expression. Some evidence has shown that relatives of those with 22q11DS might be at an increased risk of CHD in the absence of 22q11.2 deletions. We obtained a detailed family history of CHD in the first- to third-degree relatives (n = 2,639) of 104 adult probands with 22q11DS. We compared the prevalence of CHD in the relatives without 22q11.2 deletions to the published general population prevalence. We also investigated the effect of CHD in the probands on prevalence of CHD in the relatives. Of the 104 probands with 22q11DS, 14 (13.5%) had 17 relatives (17 of 2,639, 0.6%) with CHD. Of 66 probands with CHD, 15 (0.9%) of their 1,663 relatives had CHD, a significantly greater prevalence than that for the relatives of probands without CHD (0.2%, 2 of 976, p = 0.041, odds ratio 4.43, 95% confidence interval 1.03 to 40.00). In relatives of probands with CHD, the prevalence of those with severe CHD (0.36%) was significantly elevated compared to population expectations (0.061%, p = 0.007, odds ratio 5.88, 95% confidence interval 2.16 to 12.85). In conclusion, these results support a heritable susceptibility to CHD in families of probands with 22q11DS, in addition to that imparted by microdeletion 22q11.2. The occurrence of CHD in relatives might be related to the expression of CHD in the proband with 22q11DS. These findings have potential implications for the genetic counseling of families of those with 22q11DS and support the notion that interacting genetic variants might contribute to the variable expression of 22q11DS.

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