Background Universal lipid screening in children provides an opportunity to mitigate the lifetime risk of atherosclerosis, particularly in children with chronic conditions that are predisposed to early atherosclerosis. In response, national guidelines recommend additional early screening in a subset of cardiac conditions. The penetration of such guidelines has not been evaluated. Methods and Results We performed a retrospective study of a geographically representative sample of US children using the MarketScan Commercial and Medicaid claims databases. The study population was children with cardiac disease between ages 2 and 18 years and ≥3 years of continuous coverage from January 1, 2013, to June 30, 2018, divided into 4 major strata of heart disease. We assessed the likelihood of screening between these classifications and compared with healthy children and calculated multivariate models to identify patient factors associated with screening likelihood. Of the eligible 8.4 million children, 155 000 children had heart disease, of which 1.8% (31 216) had high-risk conditions. Only 17.5% of healthy children underwent lipid screening. High-risk children were more likely to be screened (odds ratio [OR], 2.1; 95% CI, 2.09-2.19; P<0.001) than standard-risk children, but that likelihood varied depending on strata of cardiac disease (22%-77%). Timing of screening also varied, with most occurring between ages 9 and 11 years. Among cardiac conditions, heart transplantation (OR, 16.8; 95% CI, 14.4-19.7) and cardiomyopathy (OR, 2.9; 95% CI, 2.8-3.1) were associated with the highest likelihood of screening. Conclusions Children with cardiac disease are more likely to undergo recommended lipid screening than healthy children, but at lower rates and later ages than recommended, highlighting the importance of quality improvement and advocacy for this vulnerable population.
Keywords: congenital heart disease; lipid screening; pediatrics.