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Study: Forms of Congenital Heart Disease Linked with Autism Spectrum Disorder


In the November 2019 Pediatrics, a study finds an association between congenital heart disease and autism spectrum disorders, with findings that could be helpful in counseling parents. The study, “Congenital Heart Disease and Autism: A Case-Control Study,” published online Oct. 10, found that children with congenital heart disease have increased odds of developing autism spectrum disorder, especially when they are diagnosed with atrial septal defects or ventricular septal defects. The case-control study reviewed the records of children enrolled in the U.S. Military Health System between 2001 and 2013, which included 8,730 cases with autism spectrum disorder and 26,280 control cases. There has long been an association between congenital heart disease and general neurodevelopmental delays, but the association between the heart disease and autism spectrum disorders has been less understood. Further research is needed to explain potential causes of the association that would provide opportunities for intervention.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds