November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, so a recent report published in JAMA Pediatrics, revealing that pregnant woman with elevated blood sugar levels are more likely to have babies with congenital cardiovascular defects, even if their blood sugar is below the cut off for diabetes, could not come at a more appropriate time.
The study was conducted over four years out of the Stanford University Medical Center, where researchers examined blood samples taken from 277 California women during their second-trimester of pregnancy. Out of the 277 women, 180 were carrying infants without congenital heart disease, and the others had infants affected by one of two serious heart defects. Specifically, 55 had tetralogy of fallot, where a baby is getting too little oxygen, and 42 had dextrotransposition of the great arteries, where the position of the two main arteries leading form the hart are swamped, preventing oxygenated blood from the lungs to circulate throughout the body.
The women’s levels of glucose and insulin were measured and used to test the association between those levels and the odds of having a baby with a heart defect. The results revealed that women who had fetuses with tetralogy of fallot had higher average blood glucose levels, but there was no significant finding in the relationship between dextrotranspostition of the great arteries and glucose levels.
In sum, women who have elevated glucose values during pregnancy, but do not meet the current diagnostic criteria for diabetes, still face an increased risk of having children with congenital heart disease, and more research should be done to further evaluate this correlation.
The trial lawyers at Bottar Leone, PLLC, have decades of experience investigating, prosecuting and trying to verdict all types of medical malpractice and birth injury cases, including those arising out of a failure to treat and/or diagnose a risk to a fetus. To speak with us about a potential medical malpractice or birth injury claim, please contact the Firm by telephone, email, or by submitting an online contact form.