Objectives: We examined the association between survival of infants with severe congenital heart defects (CHDs) and community-level indicators of socioeconomic status.
Methods: We identified infants born to residents of Arizona, New Jersey, New York, and Texas between 1999 and 2007 with selected CHDs from 4 population-based, statewide birth defect surveillance programs. We linked data to the 2000 US Census to obtain 11 census tract-level socioeconomic indicators. We estimated survival probabilities and hazard ratios adjusted for individual characteristics.
Results: We observed differences in infant survival for 8 community socioeconomic indicators (P < .05). The greatest mortality risk was associated with residing in communities in the most disadvantaged deciles for poverty (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR] = 1.49; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.11, 1.99), education (AHR = 1.51; 95% CI = 1.16, 1.96), and operator or laborer occupations (AHR = 1.54; 95% CI = 1.16, 1.96). Survival decreased with increasing numbers of indicators that were in the most disadvantaged decile. Community-level mortality risk persisted when we adjusted for individual-level characteristics.
Conclusions: The increased mortality risk among infants with CHDs living in socioeconomically deprived communities might indicate barriers to quality and timely care at which public health interventions might be targeted.