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23-05-2010 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Lipid profile in adults with congenital heart defects defined


Free abstract

MedWire News: Dyslipidemia is less common in patients with congenital heart disease than in healthy people, but elevated glucose levels may be a cause for concern, say Spanish researchers.

Serum lipid and glucose concentrations as risk factors for atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular conditions have become a matter of interest in patients with congenital heart disease because progress in pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery has meant a greater number are surviving into adulthood, note Efrén Martínez-Quintana (Universitario Insular-Materno Infantil, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) and colleagues.

The researchers compared serum lipid and glucose levels in 158 patients with congenital heart disease and 152 randomly selected individuals without heart disease who lived in the same region.

They found that total cholesterol levels were significantly lower in patients than controls (171.5 vs 199.8 mg/dl, 4.4 vs 5.2 mmol/l), as were levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (103.9 vs 123.8 mg/dl, 2.7 vs 3.2 mmol/l). These differences were particularly pronounced in patients with ventricular septal defects, co-arctation of the aorta, and cyanosis.

Levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were also significantly lower in patients than controls (48.1 vs 54.2 mg/dl, 1.2 vs 1.4 mmol/l), whereas fasting plasma glucose levels were higher in patients than controls (97.7 vs 86.9 mg/dl).

By contrast, triglyceride concentrations did not differ significantly between the two groups.

Importantly, none of the differences were explained by age, gender, or body mass index, say the researchers in the journal Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental.

The team recommends that “patients with congenital heart disease should be closely followed up because their congenital abnormalities make their hearts more vulnerable to both the development of atherosclerosis and the adverse sequelae of a cardiovascular event.”

In addition, “further investigation should be carried out to understand and explain serum glucose and lipid levels in congenital heart disease patients ruling out other clinical and genetic risk factors that could play an import role in these findings,” the authors say.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Philip Ford