Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Cardiology in the Young


Volume 22, Issue 5

Inclusive Pages



Child Development; Cognition--physiology; Heart Defects; Congenital--physiopathology


Objective: This study compares the developmental and functional outcomes at school entry between boys and girls born with a congenital cardiac defect who required early surgical correction.

Study design: A prospective cohort of 94 children, including 49 percent boys, were followed up to 5 years of age and assessed for developmental progress. Developmental measures included Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence – cognitive; Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test – receptive language; Peabody Developmental Motor Scale – motor; and Child Behaviour Checklist – behaviour. Measures of function included the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale and Functional Independence Measure for Children (WeeFIM).

Results: The mean scores of the boys on the WeeFIM subscales, such as self-care, mobility, cognition, were significantly lower than that of the girls. There was a trend for a greater proportion of boys to have abnormalities on neurological examination (boys 37.5 percent abnormal, girls 19.5 percent abnormal). Verbal, performance, and full scale Intellectual Quotients were 5–7 points lower in boys but did not reach significance (full scale Intellectual Quotient: boys 87.7 plus or minus 22.2; girls 93.9 plus or minus 19.3). Boys were more likely to have fine motor delays (50 percent, 82.7 plus or minus 16.5) compared with girls (28.2 percent, 87.0 plus or minus 15.8). There were no gender differences in receptive language or behavioural difficulties.

Conclusions: Boys born with congenital heart disease requiring early surgical repair appear to be at enhanced risk for neuromotor impairments and activity limitations. Findings support gender differences in the pathogenesis of early brain injury following hypoxic–ischaemic insults. This has implications for neuroprotective strategies to prevent brain injury.


Published version is available at Copyright © 2012 Cambridge University Press.

Peer Reviewed


Open Access


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