Prevalence of congenital heart defects in newborns in Germany: Results of the first registration year of the PAN Study (July 2006 to June 2007)

Klin Padiatr. 2010 Sep;222(5):321-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1254155. Epub 2010 Jul 21.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Multiple
  • Registries*
  • Sex Factors