(HealthDay News) — Implementation of a national screening program in the Netherlands increased the prenatal detection rate of congenital heart disease (CHD), according to a study published online Jan. 27 in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.
Christine L. van Velzen, M.D., from the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam, and colleagues conducted a geographical cohort study involving fetuses and infants diagnosed with severe CHD born between Jan. 1, 2002, and Jan. 1, 2012. The authors examined the effects of implementation of a national prenatal screening program, introduced in 2007.
The researchers found that after introduction of screening there was an increase of 23.9 percent in the prenatal detection rate, from 35.8 to 59.7 percent, and an increase of 21.4 percent in the detection rate of isolated CHD, from 22.8 to 44.2 percent. Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, other univentricular defects, and complex defects with atrial isomerism had the highest detection rates (>93 percent). Late referrals (after 24 weeks of gestation) decreased by 24.3 percent after introduction of screening.
“A nationally organized screening has resulted in a remarkably high detection rate of CHD (59.7 percent) compared with earlier literature,” the authors write.