Objective: Review of the prevalence of congenital heart defects (CHD) and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
Design: We conducted a search of the Medline and Pubmed databases to identify papers reporting the association. We then searched the reference lists of the papers and reference books for additional sources.
Results: We found 29 studies that met our inclusion criteria. In the 12 case series studies of subjects with FASD, the proportion of cases with a CHD (atrial [ASD] and ventricular [VSD] septal defects, other defects, or unspecified CHD) ranged from 33% to 100%. From the 14 retrospective studies, the rate of septal defects was 21%, other structural defects 6% and unspecified defects was 12%. For the 2 case-control studies, the odds of CHD ranged from 1.0 (subjects with fetal alcohol effect) to 18.0 (subjects with fetal alcohol syndrome). In the 1 prospective study of CHD the OR for a child to have CHD and FASD was 1.0.
Key conclusion: Pediatric cardiologists may have frequent contact with children with FASD and increased levels of attention to prenatal alcohol exposure as a potential etiology of CHD is indicated.