Le développement du cerveau et de la fonction pendant les premières années de vie des enfants atteints d'une malformation cardiaque congénitale


Marie-Ève Bolduc

Université McGill


Domaine : Neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme : Formation de doctorat pour les détenteurs d'un diplôme professionnel

Concours 2017-2018


Fondation des Étoiles

Congenital heart defects are the most common of the birth defects with an incidence of 0.85% of live births. Thanks to advances in medical and surgical procedures, the majority of newborns with complex congenital heart defects are now expected to reach adulthood. Nonetheless, it has become apparent that impaired blood circulation in utero and early in life has a negative impact on the vulnerable and fast developing brain. Delayed brain growth and maturation as well as acquired brain injuries have been identified in up to 65% of infants with congenital heart defects.

On a developmental level, as much as 70% of children with congenital heart defects will present with developmental deficits affecting the motor, cognitive, language and/or socio-emotional domains having devastating consequences on the child's and family's quality of life notwithstanding the increased burden on our educational and health systems. No study to date has explored the evolution of brain immaturity during infancy and childhood beyond the operative period. This knowledge gap has prevented the establishment of clear follow-up guidelines. Consequently, this high-risk population is not benefitting from early interventions that can be provided to optimize functioning and health.

A better appreciation of the nature of the enduring or delayed brain alterations would guide the development of targeted early interventions to stimulate brain reorganization in these infants at greater risk of neurodevelopmental deficits.  Consequently, we will examine brain growth during the first year of life using advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify brain anomalies that are undetectable using conventional MRI techniques. In addition, we will examine if the advanced MRI findings are associated with persisting developmental deficits later in the child's life.