Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Medical Sciences
Numerous articles have been published linking consanguineous marriage to an elevated prevalence of congenital heart disease, with ventricular septal defects and atrial septal defects the most commonly cited disorders. While initially persuasive, on closer examination many of these studies have fundamental shortcomings in their design and in the recruitment of study subjects and controls. Improved matching of cases and controls, to include recognition of the long-established community boundaries within which most marriages are contracted, and the assessment of consanguinity within specific levels and types of marital union would improve and help to focus the study outcomes. At the same time, major discrepancies between studies in their reported prevalence and types of congenital heart disease suggest an urgent need for greater standardization in the classification and reporting of these disorders.