Objective: To investigate the current prevalence of congenital heart defects (CHD) in live births in Germany and to assess its relation to demographic and gestational parameters.
Design: Nation-wide study (PAN: Praevalenz angeborener Herzfehler bei Neugeborenen) with passive registration of infants born between 1st July 2006 and 30th June 2007 in Germany diagnosed with CHD.
Results: Data were provided by 260 participating institutions. 7 245 infants with CHD were registered to give a total CHD prevalence of 1.08%. The most common lesions were: ventricular septal defect (all types) (48.9%), atrial septal defect (17.0%), valvular pulmonary stenosis (6.1%), persistent arterial duct (4.3%) and aortic coarctation (3.6%). The most common cyanotic lesions were tetralogy of Fallot (2.5%) and complete transposition of the great arteries (2.2%). A single ventricle (all types) was identified in 2.8%, half of them being a hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Female gender was more common among mild CHD (57.3%) while there was a striking predominance of male infants among severe lesions (58.4%). Prematurity (18.7% vs. 9.1%), a birth weight below 2 500 g (17.5% vs. 6.8%) and multiple births (6.2% vs. 3.3%) were more frequent in infants with CHD than in all live births. More than 80% of the CHD diagnoses were made within three months after birth.
Conclusions: The PAN study recorded an overall CHD prevalence of 1.08% in Germany. The proportion of mild CHD may indicate a high diagnostic level, the prevalence of severe lesions is concordant with ranges reported by others. CHD is associated with prematurity, low birth weight and multiple births.
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart, New York.