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06-07-2016 | Cardiology | News | Article

Congenital heart disease now an adult concern

medwireNews: The population of adults living with congenital heart defects in the USA has risen by 63% since the year 2000, researchers report.

Suzanne Gilboa (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA) and colleagues estimated that 2.4 million people, including 1.4 million adults, were living with congenital heart defects in the USA in 2010. And approximately 290,000 of these cases were severe.

By comparison, there were an estimated 788,000 adults living with congenital heart defects in the USA in 2000.

“This is a substantial population of adults in the United States who have survived infancy and childhood [and] are living with congenital heart defects,” Gilboa told the press. “They need the appropriate care in order to have full and productive lives.”

Although state surveillance systems in the USA track how many babies are born with congenital heart defects, Gilboa noted, they do not continue to track long term.

Gilboa and team therefore used prevalence data on congenital heart defects from Québec, Canada, to generate estimates for the US population. They assumed that the age-, gender- and severity-specific prevalence in Québec in 2010 was equivalent to that in the non-Hispanic White population in the USA in the same year. They then adjusted the data to account for differential survival between racial-ethnic groups.

They report in Circulation that the prevalence of congenital heart defects ranged from approximately 6.0 per 1000 in adults to 13.0 per 1000 in children, which corresponds to approximately 1.4 million adults and 1 million children living with these conditions.

The prevalence was slightly higher in the non-Hispanic White and Hispanic populations compared with the non-Hispanic Black population. However, the relative sizes of each of these racial-ethnic groups means that the majority of individuals estimated to be living with CHD in the USA are non-Hispanic White, at approximately 1.7 million, compared with approximately 700,000 non-Hispanic Black or Hispanic individuals.

Women had a slightly higher prevalence than men overall, at 8.0 versus 7.7 cases per 1000, with the greatest difference observed among those aged 25–44 years. Women in this age group had a prevalence of 6.0 per 1000 compared with 3.8 per 1000 in men, which translated to approximately 247,000 affected women and 157,000 affected men.

Study co-author Ariane Marelli, from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, said that the findings confirm “that congenital heart disease is a public health issue with more adults affected than children, and that’s important from a health care delivery and a policy standpoint.”

She said: “People used to think of congenital heart disease as a pediatric condition.

“There’s really no question now that congenital heart disease falls squarely in the realm of adult medicine. We need to have more congenital heart disease programs and more manpower to meet the needs of this population.”

By Laura Cowen

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2016