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Racial Disparity Seen With Congenital Heart Surgery

Black, Hispanic patients have higher costs, longer hospital stays than whites

Racial Disparity Seen With Congenital Heart Surgery

THURSDAY, Dec. 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- There are poorer medical outcomes in black and Hispanic patients undergoing surgical intervention for congenital heart disease, although mortality is not increased, according to a study published in the Dec. 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Frank J. Raucci Jr., M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and colleagues analyzed data from the University Health-System Consortium to assess inpatient resource use by patients with International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, procedure codes representative of Risk Adjustment for Congenital Heart Surgery-1 (RACHS-1) classifications 1 through 5 and 6 from 2006 to 2012 (15,453 pediatric congenital heart disease surgical admissions).

The researchers found that the overall mortality was 4.5 percent (689 patients). The total cost of hospitalization, hospital charges, total length of stay, length of intensive care unit stay, and mortality increased with increasing RACHS-1 classification. Black patients (2,034) had higher total costs ($96,884 versus $85,396 for white patients), higher charges ($318,313 versus $285,622), and longer length of stay (20.4 versus 18 days) compared with white patients, even when controlling for RACHS-1 classification. There were similarly disparate outcomes for Hispanic patients ($104,292, $351,371, and 23 days, respectively), and they also had longer stays in the intensive care unit.

"Medical and economic measures increased predictably with increased procedure risk," the authors write.

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