Cardiovascular anomalies associated with prenatal exposure to theophylline

South Med J. 1990 Dec;83(12):1487-8. doi: 10.1097/00007611-199012000-00031.


Theophylline has been shown to be a potent cardiovascular teratogen in animals, but there has been no evidence linking theophylline with congenital anomalies in infants. The cardiovascular anomalies in our three patients were aortic anomalies, double-outlet right ventricle, transposition of the great arteries, total anomalous pulmonary venous connection, and hypoplasia of the left ventricle. Some of these rare defects were also induced frequently in animal experiments with theophylline, which suggests that this drug can be a cardiovascular teratogen in a susceptible human fetus.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / chemically induced*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / drug therapy*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Theophylline / administration & dosage
  • Theophylline / adverse effects*


  • Theophylline