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Circulation. 2010 Sep 14;122(11 Suppl):S234-40. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.928325.

Sex differences in mortality in children undergoing congenital heart disease surgery: a United States population-based study.

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McGill Adult Unit for Congenital Heart Disease, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



The changing demographics of the adult congenital heart disease (CHD) population requires an understanding of the factors that impact patient survival to adulthood. We sought to investigate sex differences in CHD surgical mortality in children.


Children <18 years old hospitalized for CHD surgery were identified using the Kids' Inpatient Database in 2000, 2003, and 2006. Demographic, diagnostic, and procedural variables were grouped according to RACHS-1 (Risk Adjustment for Congenital Heart Surgery) method. Logistic regression was used to determine the odds ratio of death in females versus males adjusting for RACHS-1 risk category, age, prematurity, major noncardiac anomalies, and multiple procedures. Analyses were stratified by RACHS-1 risk categories and age. Of 33 848 hospitalizations for CHD surgery, 54.7% were in males. Males were more likely than females to have CHD surgery in infancy, high-risk CHD surgery, and multiple CHD procedures. Females had more major noncardiac structural anomalies and more low-risk procedures. However, the adjusted risk of in-hospital death was higher in females (odds ratio, 1.21; 95% confidence interval, 1.08 to 1.36) on account of the subgroup with high-risk surgeries who were <1 year of age (odds ratio, 1.39; 95% confidence interval, 1.16 to 1.67).


In this large US population study, more male children underwent CHD surgery and had high-risk procedures. Female infants who had high-risk procedures were at higher risk for death, but this accounted for a small proportion of females and is therefore unlikely to have a major impact on the changing demographics in adults in CHD.

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