Outcome of fetuses diagnosed with atrioventricular septal defect

Obstet Gynecol. 1999 Nov;94(5 Pt 1):763-7. doi: 10.1016/s0029-7844(99)00389-0.


Objective: To quantify the association of prenatally diagnosed atrioventricular septal defect with Down syndrome and to evaluate its impact on obstetric and neonatal outcomes.

Methods: Charts of 42 cases of atrioventricular septal defect diagnosed by fetal echocardiography from July 1985 to July 1997 were reviewed for prenatal history and outcome data (pregnancy outcome, pathologic confirmation, postnatal echocardiographic findings, and neonatal outcome). Statistical analysis was done using Fisher exact test and odds ratios.

Results: The mean gestational age at diagnosis was 26 weeks. Four cases could not be confirmed antenatally on repeat echocardiograms and were excluded. Reasons for referral of the remaining 38 fetuses included an abnormal four-chamber view in 76%. Twenty-two fetuses (58%) had abnormal karyotypes: 19 trisomy 21, one trisomy 18, one trisomy 13, and one mosaicism. The cardiac lesions were isolated in 20 fetuses (53%). After excluding cases of termination, ten of 12 fetuses (83%) with Down syndrome survived, compared with seven of 13 (54%) with normal karyotypes (P = .125). The odds of trisomy 21 were 16 times higher (95% confidence interval 3.0, 85.3) in fetuses with isolated cardiac lesions compared with those with associated cardiac anomalies.

Conclusion: Prenatal diagnosis of atrioventricular septal defect was associated with a 58% risk of aneuploidy (mainly trisomy 21). Down syndrome fetuses with this cardiac anomaly appeared to have a better survival rate than fetuses with normal karyotypes. Our sample did not have enough power to show a statistically significant difference. When an isolated atrioventricular septal defect was diagnosed prenatally, the odds of trisomy 21 were significantly higher than when other associated cardiac lesions were diagnosed. This information should be considered in prenatal counseling for atrioventricular septal defect.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Down Syndrome / complications*
  • Down Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Down Syndrome / genetics
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fetal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Fetal Diseases / genetics
  • Heart Septal Defects / complications*
  • Heart Septal Defects / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Septal Defects / epidemiology
  • Heart Septal Defects / genetics
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal*