OBJECTIVES: To evaluate in a population-based cohort the effect of the introduction of the 20-week ultrasound scan in 2007 on the time of diagnosis, pregnancy outcome and total prevalence and liveborn prevalence of cases with selected congenital heart defects (CHDs) in The Netherlands.
METHODS: We included children and fetuses diagnosed with selected severe CHD, born in the 11-year period from 2001 to 2011. Two groups of CHD were defined: those associated with an abnormal four-chamber view at ultrasound (Group 1), and those associated with a normal four-chamber view at ultrasound (Group 2). The time of diagnosis, pregnancy outcome and total liveborn prevalence were compared for both groups over two 5-year periods, before and after the introduction of the 20-week ultrasound scan. Trends in total and liveborn prevalence were examined over 2001 to 2011.
RESULTS: Information was collected on 269 children and fetuses. After the introduction of the 20-week ultrasound scan, the prenatal detection rate of CHDs increased in both groups (Group 1, 34.6% in 2001-2005 vs 84.8% in 2007-2011 (P < 0.001); Group 2, 14.3% in 2001-2005 vs 29.6% in 2007-2011 (P = 0.037)). The rate of termination of pregnancy (TOP) increased significantly only for Group 1 (15.4% vs 51.5% (P < 0.001)). The total prevalence of CHD in Group 1 increased over time from 2.9 per 10 000 births in 2001 to 6.4 per 10 000 births in 2011 (P = 0.016). The liveborn prevalence did not show a trend over time. For Group 2, no trends in total or liveborn prevalence could be detected over time.
CONCLUSIONS: Since the implementation of the routine 20-week ultrasound scan in The Netherlands, prenatal detection rate of selected severe CHDs increased significantly. Improved prenatal detection was accompanied by a more than three-fold increase in TOP, although only in those CHDs with an abnormal four-chamber view at prenatal ultrasound.