Prenatal detection of congenital heart diseaseresults of a national screening programme

C. L. van Velzen, S. A. Clur, Meb Rijlaarsdam, C. J. Bax, E. Pajkrt, M. W. Heymans, M. N. Bekker, J. Hruda, Cjm de Groot, N. A. Blom, M. C. Haak

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ObjectiveCongenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common congenital malformation and causes major morbidity and mortality. Prenatal detection improves the neonatal condition before surgery, resulting in less morbidity and mortality. In the Netherlands a national prenatal screening programme was introduced in 2007. This study evaluates the effects of this screening programme. DesignGeographical cohort study. SettingLarge referral region of three tertiary care centres. PopulationFetuses and infants diagnosed with severe CHD born between 1 January 2002 and 1 January 2012. MethodsCases were divided into two groups: before and after the introduction of screening. Main outcome measuresDetection rates were calculated. ResultsThe prenatal detection rate (n=1912) increased with 23.9% (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 19.5-28.3) from 35.8 to 59.7% after the introduction of screening and of isolated CHD with 21.4% (95% CI 16.0-26.8) from 22.8 to 44.2%. The highest detection rates were found in the hypoplastic left heart syndrome, other univentricular defects and complex defects with atrial isomerism (>93%). Since the introduction of screening, the late' referrals (after 24weeks of gestation) decreased by 24.3% (95% CI 19.3-29.3). ConclusionsThis is the largest cohort study to investigate the prenatal detection rate of severe CHD in an unselected population. A nationally organised screening has resulted in a remarkably high detection rate of CHD (59.7%) compared with earlier literature
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-407
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


  • Congenital heart defects
  • detection rate
  • fetal echocardiography
  • prenatal anomaly screening
  • prenatal diagnosis

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