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Congenital cardiac defects occur in around 8 to 10 out of 1000 babies born. Several factors are known to lead to a higher risk of congenital heart disease and this include a previous case of congenital heart disease in the family, consanguinity (when the mother and the father are related to each other), diabetes and the use of certain medications among others.

A recent study investigated the incidence of congenital heart defects in babies born from mothers affected by systemic lupus erythematous (SLE), a systemic autoiimune disorder that causes inflammation in different parts of the body.

The investigators demonstrated that compared to babies born to mothers without LSE, babies born to women with SLE experienced more congenital heart defects (incidence of 5.2% of babies compared to 1.9%). Furthermore the defects observed where not trivial as babies born to women with LSE also had a higher likelihood of requiring repair of the congenital heart defect.

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