Heart patients have 4 pc risk of producing children with cardiac defects, say doctors

ST CORRESPONDENT
Tuesday, 2 October 2018

“There are several reasons where the chances of a baby being born with a heart defect increase. It could be that the mother has depression and may be on anti-depressants like Lithium or has epilepsy and takes medicines to prevent convulsions like Valproic Acid." said Dr Rajeshwari Pawar

PUNE: Doctors from the city share that patients with existing heart disease have a four per cent risk of having babies with cardiac defects. Doctors also said that routine screening program can help the patients. 

Speaking about congenital heart defect, Dr Rajeshwari Pawar, Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecology said that women with a congenital heart defect have a greater risk of giving birth to a baby developing some type of heart defect too.

“There are several reasons where the chances of a baby being born with a heart defect increase. It could be that the mother has depression and may be on anti-depressants like Lithium or has epilepsy and takes medicines to prevent convulsions like Valproic Acid. Even simple treatments like ointments for acne, taken few weeks prior to planning a pregnancy or during pregnancy can cause the baby to be born with heart defects,” said Pawar.

She further added that if the mother is diagnosed with diabetes and has uncontrolled sugar during the time of early pregnancy, there is a high chance of the baby developing either heart defects or nervous system defects.

“If the mother herself had been born with a heart defect for which she had to undergo correctable surgery, then there is a slightly increased chance of about four per cent that the baby may be born with a heart defect,” said Pawar.

She also said that the heart is one of the first organs to start developing. “It first starts as a hollow tube and then develops a series of twists and convolutions to end up a complicated structure like the four chambers of the heart and the vessels attached to it. As already mentioned, the instructions for these processes comes from the genes. So, several genetic syndromes may be associated with specific cardiac defects. A missing piece of genetic material on chromosome number 22 may result in Di-George Syndrome in the baby, which specifically has heart defects,” said Pawar.

Echoing similar sentiments, Dr Manasi Karandikar, gynaecologist at SRV Mamata Hospital, said that patients with existing heart disease have a four per cent risk of having babies with cardiac defects.

“This may be a genetic scenario where the same genetic defect is carried forward. But the risk is not a major issue, that it should be considered as a routine screening programme. Thus, all females with pre-existing cardiac disorder pose a health risk as they are prone to develop dilated cardiomyopathy or acute coronary spasm depending upon the disorder which patient is suffering from. If anaemia is present, it adds to the hyperdynamic circulation and the failure may develop early. So, special care has to be taken in acute coronary spasm,” said Karandikar.

She further added that babies should be screened for trisomies and neural tube defects. 

“A routine anomaly scan at 20 weeks and a fetal 2d echo at 24 weeks should be done. This active screening for all mothers for cardiac anomalies at 24 weeks is still under scrutiny and research,” said Dr Karandikar.

Speaking about congenital heart defect, Dr Rajeshwari Pawar, Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecology said women with a congenital heart defect have a greater risk of giving birth to a baby developing some type of heart defect too.

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