How Normal Is a 'Normal' Heart in Fetuses and Infants with Down Syndrome?
SourceFetal Diagnosis and Therapy, 39, 1, (2016), pp. 13-20
Article / Letter to editor
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Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy
SubjectRadboudumc 0: Other Research RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
BACKGROUND: Congenital heart disease is present in 44-56% of fetuses with Down syndrome (DS). There are, however, signs that hearts in DS without apparent structural heart defects also differ from those in the normal population. We aimed to compare the atrioventricular (AV) septum and valves in 3 groups: DS without AV septal defect (DS no-AVSD), DS with AVSD (DS AVSD) and control hearts. METHODS: The ventricular septum, membranous septum and AV valves were examined and measured in histological sections of 15 DS no-AVSD, 8 DS AVSD and 34 control hearts. In addition, the ventricular septum length was measured on ultrasound images of fetal (6 DS AVSD, 9 controls) and infant (10 DS no-AVSD, 10 DS AVSD, 10 controls) hearts. Results : The membranous septum was 3 times larger in DS no-AVSD fetuses compared to control fetuses, and valve dysplasia was frequently (64%) observed. The ventricular septum was shorter in patients with DS both with and without AVSD, as compared to the control group. CONCLUSION: DS no-AVSD hearts are not normal as they have a larger membranous septum, shorter ventricular septum and dysplasia of the AV valves as compared to control hearts.
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