Fetal heart disease and interruption of pregnancy: factors influencing the parental decision-making process

Prenat Diagn. 2012 Feb;32(2):168-72. doi: 10.1002/pd.2923.


Objective: To identify factors influencing parental decision when a fetal cardiac disease is diagnosed.

Method: All pregnancies with fetal cardiac abnormalities diagnosed at three academic hospitals of Marseille, France, between 2004 and 2008, were retrospectively studied. The association between maternal and fetal variables (maternal age, parity, ethnicity, gestational age at diagnosis, nuchal translucency, fetal gender, chromosomal and extra cardiac abnormalities, and severity of the cardiopathy) and parental decision was tested using univariate and multivariate statistical methods

Results: One hundred eighty-eight cases of fetal cardiac disease were analysed, of which 63 were interrupted pregnancies (IP) and 125 continued pregnancies (CP). Four factors were important in the parental decision-making process: the severity of cardiac malformation, the ethnic origin of the parents, the gestational age at diagnosis and the chromosomal abnormalities.

Conclusion: Counselling of parents following the diagnosis of a congenital heart disease should take into account that, in addition of the severity of the congenital heart disease (CHD), ethnicity, gestational age at diagnosis and chromosomal abnormalities influence parental decision regarding pregnancy continuation or interruption.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple
  • Abortion, Eugenic* / statistics & numerical data
  • Adult
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Fetal Diseases / ethnology
  • Fetal Diseases / genetics*
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Gestational Age
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnosis
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / ethnology
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Nuchal Translucency Measurement
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors