National research into heart defects in babies

Dutch hospitals and research institutes are jointly starting a national investigation into heart defects in babies. One in every hundred babies has such an abnormality.

Thanks to improvements in care, the chances of survival of children with congenital heart defects have greatly increased, but later in life cardiovascular problems can still arise. “For example, the pumping power of the heart deteriorates or arrhythmias occur,” says pediatric cardiologist and research leader Wim Helbing of Erasmus MC.

The research should lead to patients being better informed about the risk of heart problems in the future. That risk varies from person to person, because “construction defects” vary from patient to patient. Operations can also influence these risks. More than 40,000 adults underwent heart surgery as babies or children

The research is financed by the Heart Foundation and the Stichting Hartekind. They have made 3 million euros available.