People born with heart disease may be at a higher risk of early onset of dementia, finds a study involving over 10,000 participants. Congenital heart disease, the most common type of birth defect, involves a defect on the walls of the heart, the valves of the heart and the arteries and veins near the heart.
"We've learned that congenital heart disease is a lifelong condition," said Nicolas Madsen, a pediatric cardiologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital in the US. "Research shows that children born with heart problems are at a greater risk for one or more neurodevelopmental issues when compared to children without heart disease. We can now say that the risk for these types of problems continues well into adulthood," Madsen added, in a paper published in the journal Circulation.
Congenital heart disease occurs in six to 10 of every 1,000 live births. Because these individuals are now living longer, the population of those with congenital heart disease is experiencing different neurodevelopmental issues than those previously described only in infants, children and young adults.
The team studied 10,632 adults born in Denmark with congenital heart disease, and found a 60 per cent increased risk of dementia compared to the general population.
The risk was 160 per cent higher (2.6 times higher) when compared with those less than 65 years old.
"We need to understand the healthcare needs and risk factors affecting the larger number of middle-age and older adults currently living with congenital heart disease," Madsen said.