Prevalence and Risk Factors of Congenital Heart Disease in Northern Ireland

  • Hafi Saad

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Background and Aim: Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) is the most commonly occurring congenital anomaly in Europe and a major paediatric health care concern. The aim of this study is to describe the occurrence and deaths due to CHD within the first year of life in NI (2005-2014), and to identify risk factors for CHD (2010-2014) by using linked clinical and administrative data held at Honest Broker Service (HBS) to guide public health action. Methods: A population-based, cohort design was adopted and linked anonymised data were accessed in HBS. Results: The study showed an overall livebirths prevalence of CHD diagnosed within the first year of life of 9.48 (95% CI 9.10-9.87) per 1000 live births. The prevalence showed a steadily increasing trend (P< 0.01). The infant mortality rate due to CHD was 0.32 (95% CI 0.25-0.40) per 1000 live births. No significant association was shown between CHD and living in the most deprived areas relative to living in the least deprived areas (P>0.05). Rural residency had shown no statistically significant association with CHD (P>0.05). There was a significant association between maternal smoking, family history of CHD/congenital abnormalities and syndromes, and increased risk of CHD (P<0.05). The study showed statistically significant association between prescription of folic acid antagonists and antipsychotics in early pregnancy and CHD (P<0.05). Conclusions and implications: The results of this study suggested that CHD prevention strategies targeting smoking cessation, and the risk related to medication use in pregnancy need to be highlighted. Clinicians will be interested in these results as they may help to guide their prescription practice. An ongoing surveillance program based on a congenital anomaly registry should be implemented to monitor CHD trends and risk factors for better guidance of public health action towards CHD prevention.
Date of AwardMar 2020
Original languageEnglish
SponsorsVice Chancellor's Research Scholarship (VCRS)
SupervisorKaren Casson (Supervisor), Maria Loane (Supervisor), Helen Dolk (Supervisor) & Paul Slater (Supervisor)


  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health
  • Linked Data
  • Population Based
  • Cohort Study

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