Congenital Heart Defects and Indices of Placental and Fetal Growth in a Nationwide Study of 924 422 Liveborn Infants

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BACKGROUND: Congenital heart defects (CHDs) have been associated with placental anomalies. The nature and the consequences of this association remain poorly understood. We aimed to estimate the associations between all major subtypes of CHD and placental weight at birth, and the association between placental weight and measures of both overall and cerebral growth in fetuses with CHD, as well.

METHODS: We included all 924 422 liveborn Danish singletons, 1997 to 2011. CHD was present in 7569. We compared mean differences in placental weight z score between newborns with CHD and newborns without CHD by multivariable linear regression adjusted for potential confounders.

RESULTS: CHD was associated with a mean z score difference of -0.04 (95% confidence interval, -0.07 to -0.02). Some subtypes were associated with smaller placental size at birth: tetralogy of Fallot, -0.45 (95% confidence interval, -0.58 to -0.31); double-outlet right ventricle, -0.48 (95% confidence interval, -0.87 to -0.10); major ventricular septal defects, -0.41 (95% confidence interval, -0.52 to -0.29). Placental weight z score was associated with birth weight and head circumference z scores in all subtypes. In the 3 mentioned subtypes, the mean deviations from the population mean head circumference and birth weight z scores were reduced by up to 66% with adjustment for placental weight z score.

CONCLUSIONS: Three subtypes of CHD were associated with lower placental weight, and placental weight was associated with measures of both overall growth and cerebral growth in fetuses with all subtypes of CHD. In certain subtypes, the described deviations in fetal growth were reduced by up to two-thirds after adjustment for placental weight z score.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCirculation
Volume134
Issue20
Pages (from-to)1546-1556
Number of pages11
ISSN0009-7322
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2016

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