In a new study, researchers found the risk of developing autism is increased for children with congenital heart disease.
The research was conducted by a team from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University.
There has long been a link between congenital heart disease and general neuro-developmental delays.
However, the association between congenital heart disease and autism is less well understood.
In the study, the team examined children enrolled in the US Military Health System from 2001 to 2013. Each child’s records were reviewed for congenital heart disease lesions and associated procedures.
A total of 8760 children with autism and 26,280 matched children without autism were included in the study.
The team found there was an increased risk of autism in children with congenital heart disease after controlling genetic syndrome, maternal age, gestational diabetes, short gestation, newborn epilepsy, birth asphyxia, and low birth weight.
In addition, specific lesions linked to increased autism risk include atrial septal defects and ventricular septal defects.
The team says these findings will be useful for counseling parents of children with congenital heart disease.
The lead author of the study is Eric R. Sigmon, MD. from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University.
The study is published in the journal Pediatrics.
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