BRITISH COLUMBIA – Women who smoke during pregnancy may be putting their newborns
at risk for congenital heart defects, and the more they smoke, the higher the
risk, according to a study to be presented Saturday, May 3, at the Pediatric
Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
smoking during pregnancy has been linked to many birth defects, such as cleft
lips and palates, and missing and deformed limbs. Some studies also suggest
maternal smoking may be associated with heart defects.
authors of this study used birth certificate data and hospital discharge
records from Washington state to determine if maternal smoking during the first
trimester of pregnancy is linked to heart defects and if so, what types of
for kids with complex congenital heart disease on a daily basis, and I see
these kids and their families enduring long hospitalizations and often
sustaining serious long-term complications as a result of their disease.
Usually, the cause of a heart defect is unknown. I saw this research as an
opportunity to study what might be a preventable cause of congenital heart
defects,” said lead author Patrick M. Sullivan, MD, FAAP, clinical fellow in
pediatric cardiology at Seattle Children’s Hospital and a master’s student in epidemiology
at the University of Washington School of Public Health.
discharge records, researchers identified 14,128 children born with a variety
of heart defects from 1989-2011. They matched these cases to 62,274 children
without heart defects born in the same year. Then, they compared the proportion
of children with heart defects whose mothers reported smoking during pregnancy
to the proportion of children without heart defects whose mothers smoked.
Mothers’ smoking status, as well as how much they smoked daily, was available from
showed that children with heart defects were more likely than those without
heart defects to have been born to mothers who smoked, and the risk was highest
in the heaviest smokers. In addition, although women 35 years of age and older
were less likely to smoke during pregnancy than younger women, older women had
a higher risk of having a child with a heart defect if they smoked.
whose mothers smoked were at about a 50 to 70 percent greater risk for
anomalies of the valve and vessels that carry blood to the lungs (pulmonary
valve and pulmonary arteries) and about a 20 percent greater risk for holes in
the wall separating the two collecting chambers of the heart (atrial septal
defects). All of these defects often require invasive procedures to correct.
also found that in recent years about 10 percent of women giving birth reported
smoking during pregnancy. They estimated that maternal smoking during the first
trimester may account for 1 to 2 percent of all heart defects.
particularly younger women, are still smoking while pregnant, despite largely
successful public health efforts to reduce smoking in the general public over
the past few decades,” Dr. Sullivan concluded. “Ongoing cigarette use during
pregnancy is a serious problem that increases the risk of many adverse outcomes
in newborns. Our research provides strong support for the hypothesis that
smoking while pregnant increases the risk of specific heart defects.”
will present “Risk of Congenital Heart Defects in the Offspring of Mothers Who
Smoke Cigarettes During Pregnancy: A Population-Based Case-Control Study of
Washington State Birth Certificates and Hospital Discharge Data from 1989-2011”
from 8:30-8:45 a.m. Saturday, May 3. To view the study abstract, go to http://www.abstracts2view.com/pas/view.php?nu=PAS14L1_1190.3&terms=.
outside funding was received for this research.
The Pediatric Academic
Societies (PAS) are four individual pediatric organizations that co-sponsor the
PAS Annual Meeting – the American Pediatric Society, the Society for Pediatric
Research, the Academic Pediatric Association, and the American Academy of
Pediatrics. Members of these organizations are pediatricians and other health
care providers who are practicing in the research, academic and clinical
arenas. The four sponsoring organizations are leaders in the advancement of
pediatric research and child advocacy within pediatrics, and all share a common
mission of fostering the health and well-being of children worldwide. For more information, visit www.pas-meeting.org. Follow news of the PAS meeting on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PedAcadSoc.