Congenital heart disease in 111 225 births in Belgium: birth prevalence, treatment and survival in the 21st century

Acta Paediatr. 2009 Mar;98(3):472-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2008.01152.x. Epub 2008 Nov 30.


Aim: To investigate the birth prevalence, treatment modalities and short-term survival of children with congenital heart disease who were born in 2002.

Methods: We undertook a retrospective review of medical records of all patients who were born in 2002, and were diagnosed, treated and/or followed-up in one of the seven-paediatric cardiology programmes in Belgium.

Results: In 111 225 births, 921 children with congenital heart disease were detected, yielding a birth prevalence of 8.3 per 1000. The most frequently occurring conditions were ventricular septal defects (VSDs) (33%), ostium secundum atrial septal defects (18%) and pulmonary valve abnormalities (10%). Thirty-nine percent of the children either had a cardiosurgical operation or catheter intervention. In this study, 4% of the children died. The actuarial survival at 6 months and 1 year of age was 97% and 96%, respectively and remained stable after then. Compared to other heart defects, mortality was higher in univentricular physiology, pulmonary atresia with VSD, left ventricle outflow obstruction and tetralogy of Fallot.

Conclusion: Survival of congenital heart disease is excellent and continued to improve in the early 21st century. New therapeutic options are increasingly used. This study provides baseline data for the longitudinal follow-up of this cohort.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Belgium / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / mortality*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome