Background: Previous reports suggest that mortality resulting from congenital heart disease (CHD) among infants and young children has been decreasing. There is little population-based information on CHD mortality trends and patterns among older children and adults.
Methods and results: We used data from death certificates filed in the United States from 1999 to 2006 to calculate annual CHD mortality by age at death, race-ethnicity, and sex. To calculate mortality rates for individuals ≥1 year of age, population counts from the US Census were used in the denominator; for infant mortality, live birth counts were used. From 1999 to 2006, there were 41,494 CHD-related deaths and 27,960 deaths resulting from CHD (age-standardized mortality rates, 1.78 and 1.20 per 100,000, respectively). During this period, mortality resulting from CHD declined 24.1% overall. Mortality resulting from CHD significantly declined among all race-ethnicities studied. However, disparities persisted; overall and among infants, mortality resulting from CHD was consistently higher among non-Hispanic blacks compared with non-Hispanic whites. Infant mortality accounted for 48.1% of all mortality resulting from CHD; among those who survived the first year of life, 76.1% of deaths occurred during adulthood (≥18 years of age).
Conclusions: CHD mortality continued to decline among both children and adults; however, differences between race-ethnicities persisted. A large proportion of CHD-related mortality occurred during infancy, although significant CHD mortality occurred during adulthood, indicating the need for adult CHD specialty management.