Some Babies Born to Diabetic Moms Prone to Heart Defects

Study finds they face five times greater risk of problems

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TUESDAY, Sept. 23, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Babies born to diabetic mothers have five times greater risk of structural heart defects compared to other babies.

So says a British study in the current issue of the journal Heart.

The study examined data on 192,618 live births to mothers between 1995 and 2000 in an area of northern England. Of those babies, 609 were born to mothers with diabetes. Congenital structural heart defects were found in 22 of the babies born to diabetic mothers (a rate of 3.6 percent) and in 1,417 babies born to mothers without diabetes (a rate of 0.74 percent).

The figures suggest there's a fivefold increase in the risk of structural heart defects for babies born to diabetic mothers, the study says. The authors recommend that pregnant women with diabetes be offered special heart monitoring of their unborn children. That would ensure there is prompt treatment at birth for any children with structural heart defects, improving the chances of better health and survival for those babies.

Structural heart defects are the most common form of congenital birth defect, affecting about six to eight of every 1,000 American babies. In most cases, the cause is unknown.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about congenital heart defects.

SOURCE: Heart, news release, Sept. 17, 2003

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