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Smoking linked to heart defects in infants

Smoking during pregnancy may result in congenital heart defects in the infants.

Smoking linked to heart defects in infants

Smoking during pregnancy may result in congenital heart defects in the infants. Recent studies have shown that alcohol, drug abuse and smoking by the mother during pregnancy can result in congenital heart disease (CHD) in the child. The child born with CHD may have defects in the chambers of the heart, rate of heartbeat or the blood vessels that carry blood to and from the heart. To clarify the relationship between prenatal smoke exposure and congenital heart defects, American researchers evaluated 3,067 infants with congenital heart defects and compared them with 3,947 other babies with normal hearts. The parents, especially the mothers of all these infants, were asked about smoking during the periconceptional period (1 month before pregnancy till the end of first trimester). Exposure of the mothers to tobacco smoke at home and the workplace during the same period was also ascertained. It was found that women who smoked in the month preceding their pregnancy or during the first trimester of pregnancy had a higher risk of delivering babies with septal defects of the heart. It was also found that those mothers who smoked more than 25 cigarettes a day gave birth to babies with right-sided obstructive defect. However, no relationship was found between exposure to second-hand smoke and congenital heart defects. Congenital heart defects and other birth defects could be prevented by decreasing maternal tobacco use. More studies on the timing of tobacco exposure and genetic susceptibility that could modify this risk could provide more evidence, based on which prevention strategies could be planned.
Pediatrics,
April 2008
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