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Mothers of Infants with Heart Defects and Increased Long-Term Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

10 August 2019


Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is responsible for approximately 1 in every 3 deaths of women in the United States. Recognizing the symptoms and predicting presentation is extremely difficult, particularly for women. If providers are able to determine risk factors early on, preventative measures or treatment can be initiated. This review assesses the evidence of whether having an infant with heart defects increases a woman’s long-term risk of developing CVD. Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted using MEDLINE-PubMed, Web of Science, and CINAHL. The following keywords were utilized in the search: women, maternal health, mothers, cohort study, mortality, cardiovascular, infant, long term and congenital. These articles were assessed for quality using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) guidelines. Results: Two studies that met inclusion criteria were included in this literature review. One retrospective observational study found that there was an increased risk of mothers of infants with critical or noncritical heart defects had an increased risk of developing CVD when compared to mothers of infants without heart defects. The other retrospective observational study concluded that mothers of infants born with a major congenital anomaly had a minor but statistically significant increased risk of mortality when compared to mothers of infants born without congenital anomalies. Conclusion: Mothers of infants with heart defects have an increased long-term risk of CVD. This information can be utilized to help increase screening and adjust treatment plans for women in this category who are at an increased risk for CVD. Additional research would determine if the risk further increased in post-menopausal women who are already at a higher risk of developing CVD.


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