This study details the type, frequency, and clinical presentation of developmental brain anomalies in 41 infants with the hypoplastic left heart syndrome encountered during a 52-month interval. Overall, 29% of the infants had either a major or minor central nervous system abnormality. Overt central nervous system malformations, including 3 cases of agenesis of the corpus callosum and 1 case of holoprosencephaly, were seen in 4 infants (10%). Micrencephaly (brain weight at autopsy more than 2 SDs below the mean for age) was found in 27% of the infants. An immature cortical mantle was seen in 21% of the study group. Seven infants (17%) had specific recognizable patterns of malformation. The absence of dysmorphic physical features did not preclude overt or subtle central nervous system malformations. Conversely, the presence of dysmorphic features did not reliably indicate an underlying brain anomaly. Infants who had hypoplastic left heart syndrome as one of multiple nonneurologic malformations were more likely to have micrencephaly than those infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome as an isolated abnormality. Occurrence of developmental neuropathology was elevated in those infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome who did not have a recognizable pattern of malformation but who were small for gestational age, microcephalic, or had ocular abnormalities. Infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome deserve careful genetic, ophthalmologic, and neurologic evaluations, imaging of their intracranial anatomy, and long-term neurologic follow-up.
- Received December 27, 1988.
- Accepted June 13, 1989.
- Copyright © 1990 by the American Academy of Pediatrics