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Research Letter
March 13, 2013

The Changing Demographics of Congenital Heart Disease Hospitalizations in the United States, 1998 Through 2010

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Jody W. Zylke, MD, Senior Editor.

Author Affiliations: Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital (Dr O’Leary); Department of Medicine, Boston Medical Center (Dr Siddiqi); and Department of Cardiology, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts (Drs de Ferranti, Landzberg, and Opotowsky).

JAMA. 2013;309(10):984-986. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.564

To the Editor: Congenital heart disease incidence has remained stable,1 but longevity has improved. There are more than 787 000 adults with congenital heart disease in the United States.2 Adults with congenital heart disease remain at risk for frequent hospitalizations.3 We analyzed US hospitalizations from 1998 through 2010 for children and adults with congenital heart disease.

We identified congenital heart disease admissions to acute care hospitals from 1998 through 2010 using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a stratified 20% sample of hospitalizations, including approximately 8 million admissions annually from approximately 1000 hospitals. International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes were used to identify congenital heart disease,4 which was classified as simple, complex, or unclassified.5 To minimize the effect of year-to-year variability, we compared the number of hospitalizations between the first and second halves of the study (January 1, 1998, through June 30, 2004; July 1, 2004, through December 31, 2010). The primary outcome was the change in number of admissions for all congenital heart disease diagnoses for pediatric (aged <18 years) vs adult patients; we also analyzed defect complexity for each age category.