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Maternal RBC Folate Inversely Linked to Heart Defects in Offspring

Increase in maternal RBC folate linked to reduction in risk for congenital heart disease in offspring

THURSDAY, Sept. 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Higher maternal red blood cell (RBC) folate is associated with a reduction in the risk of congenital heart disease (CHD) in offspring, according to a study published online Aug. 23 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Hongyan Chen, Ph.D., from the Children’s Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai, and colleagues quantified the association between periconception maternal RBC folate and offspring CHD risk in a prospective, nested, case-control study and one-sample Mendelian randomization. Data for a total of 197 mothers of offspring with CHD and 788 matched mothers of unaffected offspring were analyzed.

The researchers found that compared with controls, case patients had lower median maternal RBC folate concentrations (714 versus 788 nmol/L). There was an inverse association seen for maternal RBC folate concentrations and offspring CHD (adjusted odds ratio, 0.93 per 100 noml/L). The adjusted odds ratio was 0.61 for mothers with periconception RBC folate of ≥906 nmol/L versus <906 nmol/L. Each 100 nmol increase in maternal RBC folate concentrations was significantly associated with reduced offspring CHD risk in Mendelian randomization (odds ratio, 0.75).

“We propose that target RBC folate levels higher than those currently recommended for neural tube defect prevention be considered for primary CHD prevention,” the authors write.

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