Long-Term Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Women Who Have Had Infants With Heart Defects
Background—The possibility that congenital heart defects signal a familial predisposition to cardiovascular disease has not been investigated. We aimed to determine whether the risk of cardiovascular disorders later in life was higher for women who have had newborns with congenital heart defects.
Methods—We studied a cohort of 1 084 251 women who had delivered infants between 1989 and 2013 in Quebec, Canada. We identified women whose infants had critical, noncritical, or no heart defects, and tracked the women over time for future hospitalizations for cardiovascular disease, with follow-up extending up to 25 years past pregnancy. We calculated the incidence of cardiovascular hospitalization per 1000 person-years, and used Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between infant heart defects and risk of maternal cardiovascular hospitalization. Models were adjusted for age, parity, preeclampsia, comorbidity, material deprivation, and time period.
Results—Women whose infants had heart defects had a higher overall incidence of cardiovascular hospitalization. There were 3.38 cardiovascular hospitalizations per 1000 person-years for those with critical defects (95% CI, 2.67-4.27), 3.19 for noncritical defects (95% CI, 2.96-3.45), and 2.42 for no heart defects (95% CI, 2.39-2.44). In comparison with no heart defects, women whose infants had critical defects had a hazard ratio of 1.43 (95% CI, 1.13-1.82) for any cardiovascular hospitalization, and women whose infants had noncritical defects had a hazard ratio of 1.24 (95% CI, 1.15-1.34), in adjusted models. Risks of specific causes of cardiovascular hospitalization, including myocardial infarction, heart failure, and other atherosclerotic disorders, were also greater for mothers of infants with congenital heart defects than with no defects.
Conclusions— Women whose infants have congenital heart defects have a greater risk of cardiovascular hospitalization later in life. Congenital heart defects in offspring may be an early marker of predisposition to cardiovascular disease.
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Cardiovascular surgical procedures
- Heart defects, congenital
- Pregnancy outcome
- Risk factors
- cohort studies
- Received June 29, 2017.
- Revision received December 11, 2017.
- Accepted February 5, 2018.