Severe Congenital Heart Defects Are Associated with Global Reduction of Neonatal Brain Volumes

J Pediatr. 2015 Dec;167(6):1259-63.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.07.006. Epub 2015 Jul 29.


Objectives: To determine neonatal global and regional brain volumes in infants with congenital heart disease (CHD) in comparison with healthy controls and to determine brain growth.

Study design: Prospective cohort study in infants undergoing open-heart surgery for complex CHD. Global and regional volumetric measurements on preoperative cerebral magnetic resonance imaging were manually segmented in children without overt brain lesions.

Results: Preoperative brain volumetry of 19 patients demonstrates reduction in total and regional brain volumes, without any specific regional predilection compared with 19 healthy control infants (total brain volume reduction: 21%, regional brain volume reduction 8%-28%, all P < .001).

Conclusions: Infants with CHD undergoing bypass surgery have smaller brain volumes prior to surgery without a specific regional predilection. This suggests a fetal origin of reduced brain growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / complications*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Switzerland