Racial disparities in failure-to-rescue among children undergoing congenital heart surgery

J Pediatr. 2015 Apr;166(4):812-8.e1-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.11.020. Epub 2014 Dec 30.


Objective: To determine if racial/ethnic disparities exist among children undergoing congenital heart surgery, using failure-to-rescue (FTR) as a measure of hospital-based quality.

Study design: This is a retrospective, repeated cross-sectional analysis using admissions from the 2003, 2006, and 2009 Kids' Inpatient Database. All pediatric admissions (≤ 18 years) with a Risk Adjustment for Congenital Heart Surgery procedure were included. Logistic regression models examining complications, FTR, and overall mortality were constructed.

Results: Hispanic ethnicity (OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.01-1.26) was associated with increased odds of experiencing a complication when compared with white race. However, black race (OR 1.66, 95% CI 1.33-2.07) and other race/ethnicity (OR 1.40, 95% CI 1.10-1.79) were risk factors for FTR. Although Hispanic ethnicity was associated with increased odds of experiencing a complication, it was not associated with FTR. In hospital fixed-effects models, black race and other race/ethnicity remained as "within hospital" risk factors for FTR.

Conclusions: Black children and children of other race/ethnicity had higher rates of mortality after experiencing a complication. This suggests that racial disparities may exist in hospital-based cardiac care or response to care.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / mortality
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / ethnology
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery*
  • Hospital Mortality / trends
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Postoperative Complications / ethnology*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Treatment Failure
  • United States / epidemiology