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Am J Transplant. 2009 Dec;9(12):2808-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2009.02852.x. Epub 2009 Oct 21.

Racial and ethnic differences in mortality in children awaiting heart transplant in the United States.

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Department of Cardiology, Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Racial differences in outcomes are well known in children after heart transplant (HT) but not in children awaiting HT. We assessed racial and ethnic differences in wait-list mortality in children <18 years old listed for primary HT in the United States during 1999-2006 using multivariable Cox models. Of 3299 listed children, 58% were listed as white, 20% as black, 16% as Hispanic, 3% as Asian and 3% were defined as 'Other'. Mortality on the wait-list was 14%, 19%, 21%, 17% and 27% for white, black, Hispanic, Asian and Other children, respectively. Black (hazard ratio [HR] 1.6, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.3, 1.9), Hispanic (HR 1.5, CI 1.2, 1.9), Asian (HR, 2.0, CI 1.3, 3.3) and Other children (HR 2.3, CI 1.5, 3.4) were all at higher risk of wait-list death compared to white children after controlling for age, listing status, cardiac diagnosis, hemodyamic support, renal function and blood group. After adjusting additionally for medical insurance and area household income, the risk remained higher for all minorities. We conclude that minority children listed for HT have significantly higher wait-list mortality compared to white children. Socioeconomic variables appear to explain a small fraction of this increased risk.

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