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Disparities in Loss to Follow-Up Among Adults With Congenital Heart Disease in North Carolina

World J Pediatr Congenit Heart Surg. 2022 Nov;13(6):707-715. doi: 10.1177/21501351221111998.


BACKGROUND: The AHA/ACC Adult Congenital Heart Disease guidelines recommend that most adults with congenital heart disease (CHD) follow-up with CHD cardiologists every 1 to 2 years because longer gaps in care are associated with adverse outcomes. This study aimed to determine the proportion of patients in North Carolina who did not have recommended follow-up and to explore predictors of loss to follow-up.

METHODS: Patients ages ≥18 years with a healthcare encounter from 2008 to 2013 in a statewide North Carolina database with an ICD-9 code for CHD were assessed. The proportion with cardiology follow-up within 24 months following index encounter was assessed with Kaplan-Meier estimates. Cox regression was utilized to identify demographic factors associated with differences in follow-up.

RESULTS: 2822 patients were identified. Median age was 35 years; 55% were female. 70% were white, 22% black, and 3% Hispanic; 36% had severe CHD. The proportion with 2-year cardiology follow-up was 61%. Those with severe CHD were more likely to have timely follow-up than those with less severe CHD (72% vs 55%, P < .01). Black patients had a lower likelihood of follow-up than white patients (56% vs 64%, P = .01). Multivariable Cox regression identified younger age, non-severe CHD, and non-white race as risk factors for a lower likelihood of follow-up by 2 years.

CONCLUSION: 39% of adults with CHD in North Carolina are not meeting AHA/ACC recommendations for follow-up. Younger and minority patients and those with non-severe CHD were particularly vulnerable to inadequate follow-up; targeted efforts to retain these patients in care may be helpful.

PMID:36300264 | DOI:10.1177/21501351221111998

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