Smoking and its effects on mortality in adults with congenital heart disease

Int J Cardiol. 2008 Jun 23;127(1):93-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2007.05.008. Epub 2007 Aug 10.


Aims: To describe smoking habits in adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD) and to assess the relationship between smoking exposure and cardiovascular mortality.

Methods: Data on smoking history and cardiovascular mortality were extracted from the Euro Heart Survey on adult congenital heart disease - a retrospective cohort study, that included patients diagnosed with 1 of 8 subgroups of ACHD (Atrial Septal Defects, Ventricular Septal Defects, Marfan Syndrome, Aortic Coarctation, Tetralogy of Fallot (ToF), Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA), Fontan circulation, and Cyanotic disease).

Results: Complete data of 3375 ACHD patients (median age 28 years) were available for analysis. At inclusion, 9.3% (n=314) were current smokers and 4.2% (n=142) of the patients had smoked in the past. During a median follow-up of 5.1 years, 101 patients (3%) died. In the majority of cases the cause of death was cardiovascular (n=81; 80%). Kaplan-Meier and Cox survival analysis for each of the defects separately showed a significantly increased age and sex-adjusted cardiovascular mortality associated with smoking exposure in TGA patients (Hazard ratio 4.2 (95% CI 1.0-16.8); P=0.044). Also in ToF mortality was higher amongst smokers, though not significantly (HR 3.4 (95% CI 0.6-18.5); P=0.15). In the remaining defects no relationship between smoking and cardiovascular mortality was observed.

Conclusion: The prevalence of smoking amongst ACHD patients is relatively low. Smoking exposure is associated with increased cardiovascular mortality in patients with TGA. Prospective long-term follow-up studies are necessary.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cause of Death
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Survival Analysis