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Background: Children with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) have higher odds of developing social difficulties and/or an Autism Spectrum Disorder (AuSD) than the general population (i.e., ~10% vs. ~1%). However, there is a paucity of nuanced understanding of specific drivers of the increased rates of AuSD in extant literature. The purpose of this study is to identify the rates of co-occurring cardiac, neurological, and genetic conditions to better understand associated risk factors in a patient sample from a medium-size children’s hospital. Methods: Our population includes a clinically referred sample of children (i.e., medical history of CHD and neurodevelopmental risk) under 18 who received a diagnosis of AuSD through neuropsychological evaluation at Children’s Mercy Kansas City (CMKC) between 01/2021 and 12/2022 (N = 356 total sample; N = 50 AuSD). Results: Analyses explored rates of co-occurring cardiac, neurological, and genetic conditions among children with AuSD (10.39% of the overall CHD sample). In this sample of children with CHD and AuSD, the following prevalence rates represent the largest categories of cardiac, neurological, and genetic comorbidities, respectively: 1) Ventral Septal Defect (VSD) (24%), 2) abnormal imaging/ECMO (12%), and 3) genetic variant of unknown significance and 22q11.2 deletion (both 4%). Additional rates of AuSD and specific co-occurring conditions will be presented in detail. Conclusion: Increased recognition of the higher risk of AuSD in the CHD population is emerging. Understanding the rates of different types of co-occurring cardiac, neurological, and genetic conditions will further improve patient centered care. It is imperative that providers include regular AuSD screening in clinics to ensure appropriate access to evaluation, treatment, and family support.


Congenital, Hereditary, and Neonatal Diseases and Abnormalities | Pediatrics


Presented at the Society of Pediatric Psychology Annual Conference 2024; New Orleans, LA; April 25-27, 2024.

Congenital Heart Defects and Autism: Understanding the Breakdown of Associated Risk Factors In A Clinically Referred Sample