Background: We have previously shown coxsackievirus B (CVB) to be a potent inducer of congenital heart disease (CHD) in mice. The clinical relevance of these findings in humans and the roles of other viruses in the pathogenesis of CHD remain unknown. Methods: We obtained plasma samples, collected at all trimesters, from 89 subjects (104 pregnancies), 73 healthy controls (88 pregnancies), and 16 with CHD–affected birth (16 pregnancies), from the Perinatal Family Tissue Bank (PFTB). We performed CVB IgG/IgM serological assays on plasma. We also used ViroCap sequencing and PCR to test for viral nucleic acid in plasma, circulating leukocytes from the buffy coat, and in the media of a co-culture system. Results: CVB IgG/IgM results indicated that prior exposure was 7.8 times more common in the CHD group (95% CI, 1.14–54.24, adj. p-value = 0.036). However, the CVB viral genome was not detected in plasma, buffy coat, or co-culture supernatant by molecular assays, although other viruses were detected. Conclusion: Detection of viral nucleic acid in plasma was infrequent and specifically no CVB genome was detected. However, serology demonstrated that prior CVB exposure is higher in CHD-affected pregnancies. Further studies are warranted to understand the magnitude of the contribution of the maternal blood virome to the pathogenesis of CHD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number262
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • anti-CVB IgG/IgM
  • cardiotropic virus
  • coxsackievirus B
  • enterovirus
  • maternal virome
  • pregnancy
  • viremia


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