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Outcome of pregnancy in women with congenital shunt lesions
  1. M Zuber,
  2. N Gautschi,
  3. E Oechslin,
  4. V Widmer,
  5. W Kiowski,
  6. R Jenni
  1. Division of Echocardiography, University Hospital, Raemistrasse 100, CH-8091 Zurich, Switzerland
  1. Dr Jenni.


OBJECTIVE To evaluate the outcome of pregnancy in women with congenital shunt lesions.

SETTING Retrospective study in a tertiary care centre.

METHODS Pregnancy history was obtained by a standardised questionnaire and medical records were reviewed.

PATIENTS 175 women were identified, at a mean (SD) age of 42 (14) years. Pregnancies occurred in 126 women: 50 with an atrial septal defect, 22 with a ventricular septal defect, 22 with an atrioventricular septal defect, 19 with tetralogy of Fallot, and 13 with other complex shunt lesions.

RESULTS 309 pregnancies were reported by 126 woman (2.5 (1.6) pregnancies per woman). The shortening fraction of the systemic ventricle was 40 (8)%, and 98% were in New York Heart Association class I–II at last follow up. Spontaneous abortions occurred in 17% of pregnancies (abortion rate, 0.4 (0.9) per woman). Gestational age of the 241 newborn infants was 8.8 (0.8) months. There were no maternal deaths related to pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia and embolic events were observed in 1.3% and 0.6%, respectively of all pregnancies. Women with complex shunt lesions more often underwent caesarean section (70%v 15–30%, p = 0.005) and gave birth to smaller babies for equivalent gestation (2577 (671) gv 3016 (572) to 3207 (610) g, p < 0.05). The recurrence risk of congenital heart disease was 2.5%.

CONCLUSIONS The outcome of pregnancy is favourable in women with congenital shunt lesions if their functional class and their systolic ventricular function are good. Such patients can be reassured.

  • congenital heart defects
  • pregnancy

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