Congenital heart disease (CHD) is among the most common birth defects. Children with CHD frequently display long-term intellectual and behavioral disability. Emerging evidence indicates that cardiac anomalies lead to a reduction in cerebral oxygenation, which appears to profoundly impact on the maturation of cerebral regions responsible for higher-order cognitive functions. In this review we focus on the potential mechanisms by which dysregulation of cortical neuronal development during early life may lead to the significant cognitive impairments that commonly occur in children with CHD. Further understanding of the mechanisms underlying cortical dysmaturation due to CHD will be necessary to identify strategies for neonatal neuroprotection and for mitigating developmental delays in this patient population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas