Congenital Heart Disease Up in Adults
As Many Adults as Children Living With Heart Defects From Birth
Jan. 8, 2007 -- More children born with heart defects now survive to
adulthood, suggesting a future surge in heart complications, a Canadian study
Ariane J. Marelli, MD, of McGill University, Montreal, and colleagues
analyzed data on congenital heart diseases collected by Canada's public health
service from 1985 to 2000.
The researchers found that from 1985 to 2000, there was a huge increase in
the percentage of teens and young adults who'd been born with severe heart
The jump was so large that as of 2000, there were as many adults as children
who'd been born with severe heart defects.
"The greater survival to adulthood may result in a shift in mortality
beyond 18 years of age," Marelli and colleagues note. "This suggests
that higher mortality rates can be expected in adults with severe congenital
Marelli says her findings suggest that in the year 2000 there were 856,000
adult Americans who had been born with heart defects. And that number, she
says, is increasing -- leading to what she considers a major, hidden public
"The increasing prevalence of congenital heart disease means these
children will live longer and acquire other forms of heart disease,"
Marelli says in a news release. "We need to increase public awareness for
congenital heart disease in order to be able to better care for the increasing
number of young people with heart disease."
Marelli and colleagues report their findings in the Jan. 16 issue of
Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.