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Evaluation of the General Practice Research Database congenital heart defects prevalence: comparison to United Kingdom national systems.

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University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27709, USA.



As part of an effort to validate the General Practice Research Database (GPRD) for future studies of medication use in pregnancy, this study examined whether the rates of all, and specific types of, congenital heart defects obtained from the GPRD are similar to those obtained from UK national systems.


The prevalence rates of heart defects for 2001-2003 were determined from the GPRD and compared with both the National Congenital Anomaly System (NCAS) and the European Concerted Action of Congenital Anomalies and Twins (EUROCAT). Rate ratios (RRs) and 95% CIs were calculated comparing the prevalence of all congenital heart defects as well as specific types of heart defects in the three data sources. In addition, the effect of the child's age on the frequency of heart defects in the GPRD was determined.


The prevalence of heart defects in the GPRD was more than twice as high as in the NCAS and slightly higher than in the EUROCAT. All differences were statistically significant. The prevalence of specific heart defects varied across the GPRD, NCAS, and EUROCAT. The measured prevalence of congenital heart defects in the GPRD was higher if calculated including children up to age 6.


The comparisons of the GPRD prevalence rates to national prevalence estimates demonstrate that the GPRD can serve as a more complete source of background prevalence for the most commonly occurring congenital heart defects, which is essential to properly assess possible associations between maternal exposures and congenital heart defects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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