Background: Congenital heart defects (CHDs) occur in approximately 1% of all live births. Although most CHDs are of unknown etiology, a family history of CHDs is a known risk factor, and offspring of individuals with CHDs are at a higher risk of having CHDs. The aim of this study was to investigate the relative risk for CHDs to offspring of individuals with CHDs. Methods: The prevalence rates of CHDs in offspring of 203 individuals with CHDs and 282 individuals without CHDs were investigated. The study participants completed a questionnaire that included information on medical and reproductive history, lifestyle indicators, and family history of CHDs and other congenital malformations. The prevalence rates of CHDs in offspring were calculated. Results: The prevalence of CHDs was 3.1% (18/575) in offspring of individuals with CHDs and 1.3% (8/589) in offspring of individuals without CHDs. The adjusted odds ratio for CHDs to offspring of parents with CHDs was 1.73 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.89-2.44, p = 0.02). The estimated relative risk for offspring to females with CHD was higher than for males [2.3 (95% CI 1.1-4.7, p = 0.03) versus 1.31 (95% CI 0.48-4.30, p = 0.66), respectively]. There was no suggestion of association between CHDs and maternal smoking, alcohol consumption, and use of medication during pregnancy. Conclusions: Offspring of parents with CHDs are at a higher risk for CHDs compared with the general population. Couples where one member is affected with CHD should receive pre-conceptional or pre-natal genetic counseling and should be informed about the magnitude of the potential risk of CHDs to the offspring.
- Congenital heart defect
- Family history