We assessed the dynamics in the prevalence of children with congenital heart disease (CHD) and Down syndrome in Germany with regard to phenotype, severity, and gender. Data from patients with CHD and Down syndrome born between 1980 and 2014 were analyzed, who are registered with the German National Register for Congenital Heart Defects. One thousand six hundred eighteen CHD patients with Down syndrome were identified. The prevalence of children born with both Down syndrome and CHD was constant from 2005 to 2009 but increased from 2010 to 2014. Regarding CHD groups, complex and simple lesions have become more equal since 2005. The number of simple lesions with shunt has a peak prevalence in the period of 2010-2014. Atrioventricular septal defect was the most common CHD phenotype, but temporal changes were found within the group of CHD phenotypes over the observation period.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest a growing number of CHD and Down syndrome, which may be the result of improved medical management and progress in educational, social, and financial support. This development is noteworthy as it adds new aspects to present discussions in the media and political settings. What is known: • Congenital heart disease is regarded to be the most important clinical phenomenon in children with Down syndrome, due to its significant impact on morbidity and mortality. • New developments in prenatal diagnostic and therapy management of congenital heart disease continue to influence the number of patients diagnosed with congenital heart disease and Down syndrome. What is New: • This study provides essential data giving the first overview of the dynamics in the prevalence of congenital heart disease and Down syndrome over an extended length of time up to 2015 in a large patient cohort, taking recent developments into account. • Our data suggest a growing prevalence of congenital heart disease and Down syndrome, which may be the result of improved medical management for Down syndrome patients and progress in educational, social, and financial support for their families; this development is noteworthy as it adds new aspects to the present discussion in the media and political settings.
Keywords: Atrioventricular septal defect; Congenital heart disease; Down syndrome; Prevalence.