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Congenital Heart Defects in Patients with Anorectal Malformations: A Retrospective Cohort Study of 281 Patients.

In patients born with anorectal malformations (ARM), additional congenital heart defects (CHD) can occur. We aimed to provide an overview on disease and treatment details of CHD identified in patients born with ARM, from a unique large cohort of a very rare disease. We performed a retrospective single-center cohort study between January 2000 and July 2023. All consecutive patients with ARM were included. Outcomes were the number of patients with CHD, and screening percentage and percentage of patients diagnosed with CHD over 3 time periods (2000-2006, 2007-2014, 2015-2023). We used uni- and multi-variable logistic regression analyses to search for associations between CHD present and baseline characteristics. In total, 281 patients were included. Some 241 (85.8%) underwent echocardiography, of whom 80 (33.2%) had CHD. Screening percentage with echocardiography increased (74.1% vs. 85.7% vs. 95.9%, p < 0.001) and percentage of patients diagnosed with CHD remained similar over time (30.2% vs. 34.5% vs. 34.0%, p = 0.836). Atrial and ventricular septal defects (n = 36, n = 29), and persistent left superior vena cava (n = 17) were most identified. The presence of VACTERL-association or a genetic syndrome was independently associated with the presence of CHD. CHD were present in 33% of patients with ARM that underwent echocardiography. Over time, the number of CHD identified through screening remained similar. Patients with the presence of VACTERL-association or a genetic syndrome had a higher risk of having CHD. Therefore, acknowledging the potential presence of CHD in patients with ARM remains important.

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