Congenital heart disease often results from problems early in your development, often before you were born. Certain environmental and genetic risk factors may play a role in the development of your heart defect. They include:
May 08, 2014
- German measles (rubella). If your mother had rubella while pregnant, this could have affected your heart development.
- Diabetes. If your mother had type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it may have interfered with the development of your heart. Gestational diabetes generally doesn't increase the risk of developing a heart defect.
Medications. Taking certain medications while pregnant is known to cause birth defects, including congenital heart defects.
Medications that increase risk include the drug isotretinoin (Amnesteem, Claravis, others), which is used to treat acne, and lithium, which is used to treat bipolar disorder, a condition that causes intense mood swings or hypomania. Drinking alcohol while pregnant also may contribute to the risk of heart defects.
Heredity. Congenital heart disease appears to run in families and is associated with many genetic syndromes.
Half the children with Down syndrome — which is caused by an extra 21st chromosome (trisomy 21) — have heart defects. A missing piece (deletion) of genetic material on chromosome 22 also causes heart defects. Genetic testing can detect such disorders during a baby's development.
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- Kempny A, et al. Meeting the challenge: The evolving global landscape of adult congenital heart disease. International Journal of Cardiology. 2013;168:5182.
- Zomer AC, et al. Adult congenital heart disease: New challenges. International Journal of Cardiology. 2013;168:105.
- What are congenital heart defects? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/chd/. Accessed Dec. 20, 2013.
- Before pregnancy. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/women/pregnant-women/before-pregnancy.html. Accessed Dec. 20, 2013.
- Overview of congenital cardiovascular anomalies. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/congenital_cardiovascular_anomalies/overview_of_congenital_cardiovascular_anomalies.html. Accessed Dec. 22, 2013.
- Lifestyle changes for heart failure. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartFailure/PreventionTreatmentofHeartFailure/Lifestyle-Changes-for-Heart-Failure_UCM_306341_Article.jsp. Accessed Dec. 26, 2013.
- Goldman L, et al. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 20, 2013.
- Riggin EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 9, 2014.
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