Congenital heart disease in children with Down Syndrome who are monitored at paediatric cardiology centers in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Hidajeta Begić, Husref Tahirović, Fatima Begić, Željko Rončević, Stevan Bajić, Senka Mesihoviž-Dinarević, Majda Smajlagić, Snežana Simić-Perić


Objective - The research was undertaken with the aim of establishing the range and frequency of congenital heart disease (CHD) in children with Down syndrome (DS), who are monitored at paediatric cardiology centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina, its association with other anomalies, the time of diagnosis of DS and CHD, and to analyse their surgical care.

Patients and methods - By a cross-sectional study, data was collected on children aged from 0 to 18 years with DS and CHD who were monitored at paediatric cardiology centres of primary, secondary and tertiary health care (Banja Luka, Bihać, Bijeljina, Mostar, Sarajevo, Tuzla and Zenica) in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Results - Data for 100 children (51 boys and 49 girls) of an average age of 6.1 (from 0 to 17.1) were collected and analysed. The most frequently diagnosed CHD was atrioventricular septal defect, which was found in 36% of children followed by ventricular septal defect in 33%. In 79% children the CHD was isolated and 21% had multiple heart anomalies. Associated anomalies of other systems were found in 26% of children. In only one case was an intrauterine suspicion of DS established. A statistically significant reduction in the age of post-natal diagnosis of DS and CNHD was registered. In 73% patients cardiosurgical treatment was indicated, 43% underwent surgery, 19% are waiting for surgery and in 11% pulmonary hypertension developed.

Conclusion - The range of CHD found in children with DS in Bosnia and Herzegovina does not differ from most similar research. The results obtained show that in the period in question there was insufficient prenatal diagnostics of DS and CHD. Postnatal diagnostics, although also insufficient at the beginning of the period in question, significantly improved over time, which resulted in a reduction of the age at which the diagnosis of DS and CHD was established. Moreover there was a clear reduction in the time difference between the diagnosis of DS and the diagnosis of CHD. However, the possibilities of early cardio-surgical treatment are still limited. The results should serve in drawing up a plan of prospective monitoring of these patients in Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to define better their specific health needs.


Down syndrom; Congenital heart disease; Children; Bosnia and Herzegovina

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