T-Cell Receptor Excision Circles in Newborns with Congenital Heart Disease

Brooke T. Davey, Robert W. Elder, Michelle M. Cloutier, Nicholas Bennett, Ji Hyun Lee, Zhu Wang, Adrienne Manning, Tam Doan, Megan Griffiths, Maria Perez, Neha Ahluwalia, Olga H. Toro-Salazar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: To determine if children with congenital heart disease (CHD) have lower newborn T-cell receptor excision circles (TREC) levels than the general population and to evaluate if low TREC levels in newborns with CHD are associated with clinical complications such as hospitalization for infection. Study design: The Connecticut Newborn Screening Program reported TREC levels for newborns with CHD delivered between October 2011 and September 2016 at 2 major Connecticut children's hospitals. TREC levels for children with CHD were compared with the general population. TREC levels and outcome measures, including hospitalization for infection, were compared. Results: We enrolled 575 participants with CHD in the study. The median TREC level for newborns with CHD was lower than the general population (180.1 copies/μL vs 312.5 copies/μL; P < .01). patients with CHD requiring hospitalization for infection had lower median TREC levels than their counterparts (143.0 copies/μL vs 186.7 copies/μL; P < .01). The combination of prematurity and low TREC level had a strong relationship to hospitalization for infection (area under the receiver operative characteristic curve of 0.89). There was no association between TREC level and CHD severity. Conclusions: Newborns with CHD demonstrated lower TREC levels than the general population. Low TREC levels were associated with hospitalization for infection in preterm children with CHD. Study limitations include that this was a retrospective chart review. These findings may help to identify newborns with CHD at highest risk for infection, allowing for potential opportunities for intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-102.e2
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • cardiac anomalies
  • Immune dysfunction
  • newborn screening
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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