Congenital heart disease and Down syndrome: various aspects of a confirmed association

Cardiovasc J Afr. 2016 Sep/Oct;27(5):287-290. doi: 10.5830/CVJA-2016-019.


Background: Congenital heart disease (CHD) is frequently described in patients with Down syndrome (DS) and is the main cause of death in this population during the first two years of life. The spectrum of CHD patterns in DS varies widely worldwide; this variation could be due to sociodemographic, genetic and geographic factors.

Methods: A six-year retrospective, descriptive study was carried out from December 2008 to October 2014, based on the Paediatric Unit CHD registry of Ibn Rochd University Hospital. Clinical, echocardiographic and outcomes data were collected and sorted according to confirmation of the syndrome.

Results: Among 2 156 patients with CHD, 128 were identified with Down syndrome. The genders were equally represented (gender ratio 1) and the median age at diagnosis was 9.5 months (2 days to 16 years). The median age of mothers at delivery was 39 years (16-47). Of the 186 CHD lesions reported, the most common was atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD, 29%), followed by ventricular septal defect (VSD, 21.5%) and atrial septal defect (ASD, 19.9%). The most common associations of CHD were AVSD + ASD (10%) and VSD + ASD (7.8%). Surgery was the most common modality of treatment (54.3%). The overall mortality rate was 14.1%.

Conclusion: Our study confirmed that the profile and type of CHD in DS in the Moroccan setting exhibited slight differences in the distribution of these CHDs compared with European neighbours and other Western countries. Further studies are needed to determine which variables have an impact on these differences.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Down Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Down Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Down Syndrome / mortality
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / epidemiology*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / mortality
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Maternal Age
  • Middle Aged
  • Morocco / epidemiology
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult