American College of Cardiology
American College of Cardiology
March 15, 2018
1 min read

Statin exposure during pregnancy increases risk for ventricular septal defects in infants

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact

Avetis Hekimian

ORLANDO, Fla. — Babies who were born to women who were exposed to statin therapy during the first trimester of pregnancy had increased risk for ventricular septal defects, according to a poster presented at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session.

“We’re getting younger and younger mothers on statins, and with such a young group of patients now, we never really fully studied whether those medications are going to be safe in the future,” Avetis Hekimian, MD, cardiology fellow at Kaiser Permanente, told Cardiology Today.

Researchers analyzed data from 379,238 singleton births between 2003 and 2014. Pharmacy dispensing records were used to identify 280 women who were exposed to statins during their first trimester. Those women were compared with a propensity-matched control group of 1,160 patients who were not exposed to statin therapy.

Statin exposure during the first trimester was defined as patients who filled a prescription for a statin between the date of conception and day 84 of their pregnancy.

The women in the statin group were more likely to be older and to have dyslipidemia, hypertension, HF, diabetes and chronic kidney disease.

After adjustment for maternal comorbidities, fetal cardiac anomalies were more common in babies born to women exposed to statins during the first trimester than in babies born to women in the control group (OR = 2.1; 95% CI, 1.2-3.6). Among congenital heart formations, the biggest difference between the groups was in fetal ventricular septal defects (OR = 4.7; 95% CI, 2-10.8).

Statin exposure was not associated with conotruncal defects, fetal atrial septal defects, patent ductus arteriosus and single ventricle physiology.

“The main goal is to be a little bit more careful when screening babies of mothers who have been on statins, just to do a little bit of extra screening with an ultrasound to make sure that we don’t miss any fetal defects,” Hekimian said in an interview. – by Darlene Dobkowski


Hekimian A, et al. Abstract 1124-366. Presented at: American College of Cardiology Scientific Session; March 10-12, 2018; Orlando, Fla.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

click me