Etiologic heterogeneity in the familial aggregation of congenital cardiovascular malformations

N. E. Maestri, T. H. Beaty, J. A. Boughman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Recent data indicate that there is increased risk of congenital cardiovascular malformations (CCVM) within families of probands diagnosed with congenital cardiovascular malformations that are due to altered embryonic blood flow (flow lesions). In the present study, regressive models recently developed by Bonney were used to compare specific models of inheritance and to test for etiologic heterogeneity among three subgroups of 375 flow-lesion families identified by the Baltimore-Washington Infant Study. When all families were analyzed as a single group, the best-fitting model was a simple recessive model with Mendelian transmission; race did not have a significant effect on estimated risk. Separate analyses of families of probands with left heart defects, right heart defects, and ventricular septal defects (VSD) confirmed this simple Mendelian recessive model as the model of choice. However, when race was included as a covariate in these genetic models, there was evidence for significant heterogeneity among the three subgroups. There was an increased risk to relatives of white probands with right heart defects and to relatives of black probands with VSD, while there was no effect of race among relatives of probands with left heart defects. These results strongly suggest that there is etiologic heterogeneity in the control of CCVM among flow-lesion families and that the patterns of familial aggregation differ among the races.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)556-564
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of human genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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