Noncardiac comorbidities of congenital heart disease in children

Acta Paediatr. 2007 May;96(5):753-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2007.00275.x.


Background: Noncardiac conditions may complicate heart disease care, contribute to the progression of the disease and alter the response to treatment. The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate the proportion of cardiac children with such significant conditions.

Methods: Of the 1058 children with congenital heart disease primarily diagnosed during a 10-year-period in one hospital, we identified those patients who had significant congenital and acquired comorbidities.

Results: Associated problems were diagnosed in 224 children (21.2%). Among them, 118 children (11.2%) had genetic or syndromic conditions, of which 38 had Trisomy 21. Six subspecialty areas accounted for the vast majority of the cases: neurology (n = 140), pulmonology (n = 36), orthopaedics (n = 26), nephro-urology (n = 19), gastroenterology (n = 14) and endocrinology (n = 13). The most frequent associated conditions were mental retardation, asthma, epilepsy and scoliosis. During the study period, death occurred in 46 of the children (4.3%) and was not related to the cardiac disease in 20 cases (1.9%).

Conclusion: A substantial proportion of children with congenital heart disease have significant noncardiac comorbidities. Close collaboration between paediatric cardiologists and paediatricians of other subspecialties is imperative to optimize care for these children.

MeSH terms

  • Belgium / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / epidemiology*
  • Humans