Journal Articles

Publication Date



JAMA Network Open


IMPORTANCE: Hypospadias is a common birth defect of the male urinary tract that may be isolated or may co-occur with other structural malformations, including congenital heart defects (CHDs). The risk for co-occurring CHDs among boys with hypospadias remains unknown, which limits screening and genetic testing strategies.

OBJECTIVE: to characterize the risk of major CHDs among boys born with hypospadias.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This retrospective cohort study used data from population-based birth defect surveillance programs on all male infants born in 11 US states from January 1, 1995, to December 31, 2014. Statistical analysis was performed from September 2, 2020, to March 25, 2022.

EXPOSURE: Hypospadias.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Demographic and diagnostic data were obtained from 2 active state-based birth defect surveillance programs for primary analyses, the Texas Birth Defects Registry and the Arkansas Reproductive Health Monitoring System, with validation among 9 additional states in the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN). Birth defect diagnoses were identified using the British Pediatric Association coding for hypospadias (exposure) and major CHDs (primary outcomes). Maternal covariates and birth year were also abstracted from the vital records. Poisson regression was used to estimate adjusted prevalence ratios and 95% CIs for major CHDs within Texas and Arkansas and combined using inverse variance-weighted meta-analysis. Findings were validated using the NBDPN.

RESULTS: Among 3.7 million pregnancies in Texas and Arkansas, 1485 boys had hypospadias and a co-occurring CHD. Boys with hypospadias were 5.8 times (95% CI, 5.5-6.1) more likely to have a co-occurring CHD compared with boys without hypospadias. Associations were observed for every specific CHD analyzed among boys with hypospadias, occurred outside of chromosomal anomalies, and were validated in the NBDPN. An estimated 7.024% (95% CI, 7.020%-7.028%) of boys with hypospadias in Texas and 5.503% (95% CI, 5.495%-5.511%) of boys with hypospadias in Arkansas have a co-occurring CHD. In addition, hypospadias severity and maternal race and ethnicity were independently associated with the likelihood for hypospadias to co-occur with a CHD; boys in Texas with third-degree (ie, more severe) hypospadias were 2.7 times (95% CI, 2.2-3.4) more likely than boys with first-degree hypospadias to have a co-occurring CHD, with consistent estimates in Arkansas (odds ratio, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.4-5.3), and boys with hypospadias born to Hispanic mothers in Texas were 1.5 times (95% CI, 1.3-1.8) more likely to have a co-occurring CHD than boys with hypospadias born to non-Hispanic White mothers.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this cohort study, boys with hypospadias had a higher prevalence of CHDs than boys without hypospadias. These findings support the need for consideration of additional CHD screening programs for boys born with hypospadias.


Child, Cluster Analysis, Cohort Studies, Female, Heart Defects, Congenital, Humans, Hypospadias, Infant, Male, Pregnancy, Prevalence, Retrospective Studies

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