Ebstein’s is a congenital heart problem, so it does not spontaneously arise after birth, although very often it will go undetected at the time of birth. However, as yet little is known about whether the cause of Ebstein’s are due to chromosome abnormality, particular exposure to environmental factors, genetic links, or most likely a combination of these.

Some research suggests that Ebstein’s is more common where the mother is white, and we do know that those with the condition are equally likely to be male or female. The environmental factors that have been implicated in the cause of this disease according to Riaz (2008) are:

  • maternal ingestion of lithium in the first trimester of pregnancy
  • maternal benzodiazepine use
  • maternal exposure to varnishing substances
  • maternal history of previous fetal loss

However, at present our knowledge suggests that most cases of Ebstein’s appear to arise by chance, with no obvious reason for their development.

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