Congenital heart disease diagnosed with echocardiogram in newborns with asymptomatic cardiac murmurs: a systematic review

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More than 50% of newborns with congenital heart disease (CHD) are unrecognized at birth; however, the use of echocardiogram (Echo) for diagnosing CHD in newborns with asymptomatic, non-syndromic cardiac murmurs (ANCM), has not been systematically reviewed yet. We aimed to identify the incidence of CHD diagnosed with Echo and systematically review whether Echo should be recommended in this patient group.


The methodology utilized in this systematic review adhered to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses framework. Using the MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases, we performed a systematic review of publications reporting CHD diagnosed with Echo in newborns with cardiac murmurs. The quality of the included studies was evaluated using the Study Quality Assessment Tools developed by the National Institutes of Health.


Of the 630 studies screened, six cohort studies, four cross-sectional studies, and two case reports were included in this review. The incidence of cardiac murmurs ranged from 0.6–8.6%. Among the 1928 newborns with ANCM, 719 (37.3%) were diagnosed with Echo as having CHD, and ventricular septal defect was the most common congenital malformation. More than 50% of the newborns showed moderate CHD necessitating outpatient cardiology follow-up, and 2.5% had severe CHD requiring immediate interventions, such as cardiac catheterization and heart surgery.

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