Smoking future fathers associated with the risk of congenital heart defects in their children
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The results of the meta-analysis revealed an association between the smoking of future fathers and the development of congenital heart defects in their children, says the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. Moreover, smoking fathers correlates with the occurrence of the disease even more than the active smoking of the mother. But the strongest association was between the risk of developing congenital heart defects in children and passive smoking of the mother.
Congenital heart defects (CHD, defects in the structure of the heart or large vessels) are the most common cause of infant mortality from malformations. About eight percent of children worldwide and nearly nine percent of children in China are born with CHD. Scientists have already found a positive association between mother smoking during pregnancy and the development of CHD in a child. Studies that would identify the relationship between the development of CHD in a child and passive smoking of the mother (and it is much more common than active) and smoking of the future father are also published, but their results contradict each other.
In addition, most of them were carried out mainly on samples from Europe and the United States, and did not include studies of Chinese smokers. Meanwhile, China is the world's largest producer and consumer of tobacco products, and the results of research in China can change the overall picture.
Therefore, Chinese researchers, led by Dr. Jiabi Qin from Central South University in Changsha, conducted a meta-analysis of 125 studies from international and Chinese databases for the period between 1971 and June 2018. The selection criteria were:
publication in English or Chinese;
the study was cohort or case-control (two groups with different results of the study are compared on the basis of the expected factor affecting the result);
active or passive smoking of the mother and / or smoking of the father and its influence on the development of CHD was investigated, as a result the relative risk of CHD was calculated.
As a result, researchers included 8.77 million participants and 137.6 thousand cases of CHD in the meta-survey. In total, the authors studied 63 studies (50.4 percent), conducted in Asia, 22 (17.6 percent) – in Europe, 38 (30.4 percent) – in North America and one work from Oceania and South America.
Scientists confirmed the association between active maternal smoking and the risk of CHD in a child, the risk coefficient (CR) was 1.25 (p <0.01). The associations between the risk of developing CHD in a child and passive smoking of the mother and smoking of the father were even stronger. The risk factors compared with the control group were 2.24 and 1.74, respectively (in both cases, p <0.01). The highest risk of developing CHD was found in children from Asia: the risk factors for active and passive smoking of the mother and smoking of the father were 2.18, 2.56 and 1.77, respectively. The risk of CHD was higher in children whose mothers smoked before pregnancy (CR = 1.46, p <0.01).
Jiabi Qin says:
Future fathers should stop smoking. Smoking fathers is a significant source of passive smoking in pregnant women, and it seems to be even more dangerous for an unborn child than active smoking.
See also: How to pass a child "good" genes.children, congenital, defects, fathers, future, heart, risk, Smoking