FRIDAY, Oct. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Women with congenital heart disease (CHD) have a low maternal mortality rate, although maternal morbidity and neonatal morbidity and mortality are elevated, according to a study published online Oct. 12 in the European Heart Journal.

Astrid Elisabeth Lammers, M.D., from the University Hospital Muenster in Germany, and colleagues analyzed data from one large German health insurance company on all pregnancies in women with CHD between 2005 and 2018 to examine maternal and neonatal complications and outcomes. A total of 7,512 pregnancies in 4,015 women with CHD were included and compared to a matched control group of 6,502 non-CHD women with 11,225 pregnancies. The association between adult CHD (ACHD) and maternal or neonatal outcomes was also examined.

The researchers found that compared with the control group, cesarean deliveries occurred more often in CHD patients (40.5 versus 31.5 percent). No excess mortality was seen. Women with CHD had significantly increased rates of stroke, heart failure, and cardiac arrhythmias during pregnancy, although the maternal complication rate was low in absolute terms. Neonatal mortality was also significantly higher in the ACHD group, although the rate was low (0.83 versus 0.22 percent); compared with non-CHD offspring, neonates born to CHD mothers had low/extremely low birth weight or extreme immaturity or required resuscitation and mechanical ventilation more often.

“The most important finding from our study is that many women born with a congenital heart defect are able to get through pregnancy and give birth safely,” Lammers said in a statement.

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