Purpose of review: Neurodevelopmental impairment is common in children with moderate to severe congenital heart disease (CHD). As children live longer and healthier lives, research has focused on identifying causes of neurodevelopmental morbidity that significantly impact long-term quality of life. This review will address the role of genetic factors in predicting neurodevelopmental outcome in CHD.
Recent findings: A robust literature suggests that among children with various forms of CHD, those with known genetic/extracardiac anomalies are at highest risk of neurodevelopmental impairment. Advances in genetic technology have identified genetic causes of CHD in an increasing percentage of patients. Further, emerging data suggest substantial overlap between mutations in children with CHD and those that have previously been associated with neurodevelopmental disorders.
Summary: Innate and patient factors appear to be more important in predicting neurodevelopmental outcome than medical/surgical variables. Future research is needed to establish a broader understanding of the mutations that contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders and the variations in expressivity and penetrance.