Within a period of 3 years, 56 infants and children with embryofetal alcohol syndrome have been detected and examined for heart defects. All children were from mothers who had been addicted to alcohol even during pregnancy and they showed a typical pattern of malformations, as described by Lemoine et al. (1968) and Jones et al. (1973). In 16 cases cardiovascular malformations were confirmed by heart catheterisation or pathological examination. The overall incidence of heart defects in this syndrome was 29 per cent. The incidence rises to nearly 50 per cent in the more severe types of this syndrome. Atrial septal defects were found to be the most common heart defect (10 out of 16 cases); ventricular septal defects and other variable malformations occurred less frequently. The high incidence of heart defects indicates that alcoholism during pregnancy has to be considered as a serious and preventable cause of congenital heart disease.
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