Date of Graduation


Document Type

Thesis (MS)

Program Affiliation

Genetic Counseling

Degree Name

Masters of Science (MS)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Laura Mitchell, PhD

Committee Member

Elizabeth Goldmuntz, MD

Committee Member

Philip Lupo, PhD

Committee Member

Jacqueline Hecht, PhD

Committee Member

Sarah Seth, MPH, CGC

Committee Member

Jennifer Czerwinski, MS, CGC


It is widely accepted that hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), aortic valve stenosis with or without bicuspid aortic valve (AS/BAV) and coarctation of the aorta (CoA) occur in families more commonly with each other than with any other congenital heart defect (CHD). Genetic counseling for CHDs is currently based on empiric risk estimates derived from data collected on all types of CHDs between 1968 and 1990. Additionally, for the specific group of defects described above, termed left-sided lesions, estimates are available for sibling recurrence. Utilizing family history data from 757 probands recruited between 1997 and 2007 from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, this study reassessed the pre/recurrence risks for LSLs specifically. Sibling pre/recurrence risks for HLHS (5.5%, 95% CI: 3.1%-8.9%), CoA (4.0%, 95% CI: 2.1%-6.7%), and AS/BAV (6.0%, 95% CI: 3.3%-9.8%) were higher than currently quoted risks based on sibling data for individual LSLs. Additionally, the prevalence of BAV in 202, apparently unaffected, parents of 134 probands was assessed by echocardiography. BAV, which occurs at a frequency of 1% in the general population, was found to occur in approximately 10% of parents of LSL probands. Lastly, among affected first-degree relative pairs (i.e. siblings, parent-offspring), the majority (65%-70%) were both affected with a LSL. Defect specific concordance rates were highest for AS/BAV. Together, these findings suggest that over the past 20 years with changing diagnostic capabilities and environmental/maternal conditions (e.g. folic acid fortification, increased maternal diabetes and obesity) recurrence risks may have increased, as compared to current LSL specific risk estimates. Based on these risk estimate increases and prior studies, a protocol for screening first-degree relatives of LSL probands should be devised.


congenital heart defect, bicuspid aortic valve, left-sided lesion, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, CHD, HLHS, recurrence risk, coarctation of the aorta, BAV



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