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Pediatr Cardiol. 2003 Mar-Apr;24(2):103-8. Epub 2002 Sep 25.

Regional racial and ethnic differences in mortality for congenital heart surgery in children may reflect unequal access to care.

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  • 1Department of Cardiology, Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Abstract

The objective of this study was to explore racial differences in mortality for congenital heart surgery. We performed a population-based retrospective cohort study using hospital discharge abstract data from four states in 1996. The outcome measure was risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality. Cases of pediatric congenital heart surgery were classified into six risk categories using the Risk Adjustment in Congenital Heart Surgery method. Differences in risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality among racial groups were explored. Analyses stratified by state were used to identify regional differences. Of 5791 cases, 4822 (83%) were assigned to a risk group for analysis. Surgical mortality differed for whites compared to non-whites (3.7 vs 5.1%, p = 0.02). Among non-white groups, unadjusted mortality rates varied: Asian, 5.3%; black, 4.1%; Hispanic 4.9%; other, 7.3%; and missing, 7.6% (p = 0.008). Adjusted mortality also differed by race but was inconsistent across regions, making explanatory factors based solely on biology implausible. For example, compared to whites, blacks had a higher risk of dying in Massachusetts [odds ratio (OR) = 6.39, p = 0.08] but lower in Pennsylvania (OR = 0.41, p = 0.009). Adding insurance type to models did not eliminate racial differences. In risk-adjusted analyses, non-white groups had a higher risk of dying after congenital heart surgery than whites. Inconsistent effects among regions suggest that differential mortality is due to unequal access to care rather than biology.

PMID:
12360393
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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