Immediate and long-term outcomes in children with prenatal diagnosis of selected isolated congenital heart defects




To compare the immediate postinterventional and long-term outcomes of children with a prenatal and those with a postnatal diagnosis of isolated congenital heart defects.


This was a retrospective study of 257 children admitted over a 10-year period to our pediatric cardiology unit with one of four different cardiac lesions: transposition of the great arteries, atrioventricular canal defect, tetralogy of Fallot and pulmonary atresia; 208 were diagnosed postnatally and 49 prenatally. Management was identical in the two patient groups.


The median age at admission was 22 days in the postnatal group and 10 days in the prenatal group. In the prenatal group there was a higher median preoperative O2 saturation level (P = 0.07), fewer cases of preoperative cardiac failure (P = 0.03), fewer cases of preoperative closure of the duct (P = 0.04), a shorter median duration of postoperative mechanical ventilation (P = 0.03), less need for resurgery (P = 0.02) and a shorter median duration of stay in the intensive care unit (P = 0.05). Postoperative survival was 96% in the prenatal group and 90% in the postnatal group. Assessment of long-term survival revealed a longer catheter intervention-free interval in the prenatal group (P = 0.03). At the 1-year follow-up, residual impaired cardiac function was less frequent in the prenatal than in the postnatal group (P = 0.04). Overall survival at maximum follow-up was 92% in the prenatal and 84% in the postnatal group.


Prenatal diagnosis of isolated congenital heart defects allows admission for surgery in a more stable condition and is associated with lower short-term and long-term morbidity and mortality. Copyright © 2007 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.