Association between congenital heart disease and autism spectrum disorders: A protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis

Medicine (Baltimore). 2023 Mar 17;102(11):e33247. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000033247.


Background: Congenital heart disease (CHD), the most common heart defect in children, refers to congenital disease with abnormal development of the heart or large blood vessels during the fetal period. The researchers suggest that children with CHD show more obvious neurodevelopmental disorders than children with normal development, and children with CHD may have a higher risk of social interaction and communication disorders. This is similar to the characteristics of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, the association between type of CHD and ASD is not well understood. This systematic review and meta-analysis will reveal the relationship between type of CHD and ASD.

Methods: We will search the Cochrane Library, Embase, PubMed, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Wanfang, Chinese Scientific Journals Full text, and China Biology Medicine disc databases using relevant subject terms and free words. We will use a fixed effects model or random effects model for meta-analysis. The risk of bias will be assessed by the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale and the agency for health care research and quality. Heterogeneity will be tested by Q statistics and I² values. Publication bias will be detected by funnel plots and Egger test. Subgroup analyses and sensitivity analyses will also be used to explore and interpret the heterogeneity.

Results: The study will afford additional insight into the investigation the association between type of CHD and ASD.

Conclusions: The results will provide evidence for the early identification and early intervention of ASD in children with CHD, which may contribute to improving the neurodevelopmental outcome of children with CHD.

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / complications
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Heart Defects, Congenital* / complications
  • Heart Defects, Congenital* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Risk Assessment
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic