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Factors influencing the outcome of congenital heart disease detected prenatally.
  1. G K Sharland,
  2. S M Lockhart,
  3. S K Chita,
  4. L D Allan
  1. Department of Perinatal Cardiology, Guy's Hospital, London.


    The diagnosis of structural heart disease before birth is associated with a poor prognosis. Of 222 continuing pregnancies seen in a 10 year period, there has been a 79% mortality. This is inconsistent with published results and current concepts of the outcome for children with cardiac malformation. Of the 222, death occurred in intrauterine life in 57, 87 died as neonates, and 31 in infancy or childhood. There are 47 survivors of whom only five have survived beyond 4 years. Factors influencing the outcome in these cases were examined further. A high mortality was associated with the presence of extracardiac anomalies in 71 (32%) and prenatal cardiac failure in 28 (13%). As many patients were referred for these reasons, referral methods preferentially select patients with a different range of heart disease from that seen postnatally. In addition, some forms of heart disease progress in severity during fetal life. Those involved in the management and counselling after diagnosis of heart disease in early pregnancy must be aware of the additional prenatal factors influencing prognosis and allow for them in making predictions of outcome.

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