Is low parental education associated with congenital heart defects?

Arlene Keddie, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Objective. The purpose of this study was to determine if there are associations between low parental education and congenital heart defects. Methods. This was a cross-sectional study of 281,262 live born singletons, 1765 of whom were identified by the Texas Birth Defects Monitoring Division (TBDMD) as having heart defects without known chromosomal anomalies. Data on the specific diagnoses of these infants were linked to their corresponding birth certificates. Only infants born between January 1, 1995 and December 31, 1997, whose mothers resided in the Texas public health regions under surveillance by the TBDMD were included in the study. The number of years of schooling of the most educated parent was used to calculate crude, stratified and adjusted odds ratios. Results. An increase in the likelihood of having an infant with any type of congenital heart defect was found among parents with less than 16 years of education, compared to those with 16 or more years of schooling. The association became more marked with increasing paternal age, and was found among whites and Hispanics but not among blacks. Statistically significant associations with low parental education were found for ventricular septal defects, transposition of the great vessels and miscellaneous heart and vessel defects. Among whites, there was an inverse association between parental education and likelihood of having an infant with a severe ASD. This association was not found among non-whites. The suggestion of an association between low parental education and tetralogy of Fallot, was also found, but was not statistically significant. Parents with ≥16 years of education had a greater likelihood of having an infant with severe endocardial cushion lesions or total anomalous pulmonary return than less well educated parents. Conclusion. This study suggests that parental education is associated with certain types of heart defects, especially among whites and Hispanics.

Subject Area

Public health|Obstetrics|Gynecology|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Keddie, Arlene, "Is low parental education associated with congenital heart defects?" (2002). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3131261.