Living near nationally ranked hospitals may impact kids with heart defects

Children with congenital heart disease (CHD) whose mothers live near top-ranked pediatric cardiac centers fare better than those who don’t, according to a study published in the journal Circulation.

Lead study author and NHLBI program officer Jonathan Kaltman, M.D., and colleagues examined infant death data between 2011 and 2015. They found that the risk of dying from CHD was 28% greater for infants whose mothers did not live close to one of the nation’s top 50 pediatric cardiac centers. That was after accounting for factors like the baby’s gestational age and mother’s race and education level.

“One finding that was surprising was that infants whose mothers live in a metro area with a pediatric cardiac center that is not ranked in the top 50 have higher mortality related to CHD,” Kaltman said.

The researchers’ next step is to better understand the reason for this disparity. The study was funded by NHLBI.