Infant mortality: the contribution of genetic disorders

J Perinatol. 2019 Dec;39(12):1611-1619. doi: 10.1038/s41372-019-0451-5. Epub 2019 Aug 8.


Objective: To determine the proportion of infant deaths occurring in the setting of a confirmed genetic disorder.

Study design: A retrospective analysis of the electronic medical records of infants born from 1 January, 2011 to 1 June, 2017, who died prior to 1 year of age.

Results: Five hundred and seventy three deceased infants were identified. One hundred and seventeen were confirmed to have a molecular or cytogenetic diagnosis in a clinical diagnostic laboratory and an additional seven were diagnosed by research testing for a total of 124/573 (22%) diagnosed infants. A total of 67/124 (54%) had chromosomal disorders and 58/124 (47%) had single gene disorders (one infant had both). The proportion of diagnoses made by sequencing technologies, such as exome sequencing, increased over the years.

Conclusions: The prevalence of confirmed genetic disorders within our cohort of infant deaths is higher than that previously reported. Increased efforts are needed to further understand the mortality burden of genetic disorders in infancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Disorders / epidemiology
  • Chromosome Disorders / mortality
  • Female
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / epidemiology
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Death / etiology
  • Infant Mortality*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology