Even minor heart defects are linked to long-term problems in adulthood

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In a new study, researchers found that long-term morbidity as well as a lower level of education and employment rate are common among adults who underwent congenital heart surgery during childhood, regardless of the severity of the defect.

A congenital heart defect in childhood increases the risk of chronic diseases, such as arrhythmia and heart failure, in adulthood.

The risk of other diseases, including asthma, epilepsy, and even psychiatric diseases, is also higher than usual. These adverse effects occur regardless of the severity of the heart defect.

The research was conducted by a team at the University of Helsinki and the New Children’s Hospital.

Heart malformations are the most common congenital structural defects of an individual organ.

The study encompasses all patients who underwent congenital heart surgery in Finland aged under 15, from 1966 onwards.

The findings emphasize the importance of long-term follow-up among this patient group.

According to another study, the effects of heart defects also extend to the quality of life.

Adults who underwent heart surgery in childhood had a lower level of education and rate of employment than the control subjects; this was the case especially among men.

The team says it was surprising to see that patients with a simple heart defect also had a poorer socioeconomic status compared with the rest of the population.

The study compared the level of education, rate of employment, marital status, and the number of children between adults who had undergone heart surgery in childhood and control subjects during a 60-year period.

One author of the study is Alireza Raissadati, a pediatrician specializing in pediatric cardiology.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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