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Abnormal Left-Hemispheric Sulcal Patterns in Adults With Simple Congenital Heart Defects Repaired in Childhood

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  • Benjamin Asschenfeldt
  • Lars Evald
  • Hyuk Jin Yun
  • Johan Heiberg
  • Leif Østergaard
  • P Ellen Grant
  • Vibeke Elisabeth Hjortdal
  • Kiho Im
  • Simon Fristed Eskildsen
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Background Children operated on for a simple congenital heart defect (CHD) are at risk of neurodevelopmental abnormalities. Abnormal cortical development and folding have been observed in fetuses with CHD. We examined whether sulcal folding patterns in adults operated on for simple CHD in childhood differ from those of healthy controls, and whether such differences are associated with neuropsychological outcomes. Methods and Results Patients (mean age, 24.5 years) who underwent childhood surgery for isolated atrial septal defect (ASD; n=33) or ventricular septal defect (VSD; n=30) and healthy controls (n=37) were enrolled. Sulcal pattern similarity to healthy controls was determined using magnetic resonance imaging and looking at features of sulcal folds, their intersulcal relationships, and sulcal graph topology. The sulcal pattern similarity values were tested for associations with comprehensive neuropsychological scores. Patients with both ASD and VSD had decreased sulcal pattern similarity in the left hemisphere compared with controls. The differences were found in the left temporal lobe in the ASD group and in the whole left hemisphere in the VSD group (P=0.033 and P=0.039, respectively). The extent of abnormal left hemispheric sulcal pattern similarity was associated with worse neuropsychological scores (intelligence, executive function, and visuospatial abilities) in the VSD group, and special educational support in the ASD group. Conclusions Adults who underwent surgery for simple CHD in childhood display altered left hemisphere sulcal folding patterns, commensurate with neuropsychological scores for patients with VSD and special educational support for ASD. This may indicate that simple CHD affects early brain development. Registration URL:; Unique identifier: NCT03871881.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere018580
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)e018580
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2021

    Research areas

  • Adult, Brain, Congenital heart defect, Magnetic resonance imaging, Sulcal pattern

ID: 64652556