Community socioeconomic disadvantage and the survival of infants with congenital heart defects

Am J Public Health. 2014 Nov;104(11):e150-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302099. Epub 2014 Sep 11.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Healthcare Disparities / statistics & numerical data
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • United States / epidemiology