Placental Characteristics of Fetuses With Congenital Heart Disease

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To investigate whether there is an association between congenital heart disease (CHD) and placental abnormalities.


We conducted a case-control study that included cases of infants with CHD who underwent cardiac surgery within 6 months of life at the Johns Hopkins Medical Center from 2000 to 2013, and gestational age-matched normal pregnancy controls (200 neonates per group).


Overall, abnormal placental cord insertion (ie, eccentric, marginal, or velamentous) was associated with CHD (odds ratio, 2.33–3.76). The main cardiac defects associated with abnormal cord insertion were conotruncal defects (relative risk, 3.08; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.48–6.40; P = .003), left heart disease (relative risk, 2.40; 95% CI, 1.32–4.37; P = .004), and right heart disease (relative risk, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.21–4.07; P = .010). The Placenta-to-birth weight ratio was not associated with CHD. Intrauterine growth restriction was associated with CHD (odds ratio, 3.00; 95% CI, 1.41–6.39; P = .004).


Abnormal cord insertion, as well as intrauterine growth restriction, was determined to be correlated with the presence of CHD. On the basis of our results, we conclude that cord insertion should be evaluated at routine obstetric sonography, and further fetal heart evaluation is warranted if abnormal cord insertion is detected.

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