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The prevalence of congenital heart disease (CHD) in adults is rising necessitating a greater understanding of acquired diseases such as community-acquired pneumonia, which remains a leading cause of age-related mortality and morbidity in the general population. We hypothesise that the CHD population, given cardiopulmonary mechanics and altered immune function, bears a uniquely high risk for pneumonia-related hospitalisations and mortality.
A countrywide cohort study was performed to calculate the relative risk and cumulative incidence of pneumonia hospitalisations and resultant 30-day mortality amongst the adult CHD population, matched 1:10 with non-CHD persons by gender, age, and adjusted for comorbidities. Cox proportional hazard regression quantified the impact of CHD severity and extracardiac defects.
The CHD cohort includes 17,162 adults. The majority demonstrate mild/moderate CHD complexity. The cumulative incidence of pneumonia hospitalisation was higher for adults with CHD (hazard ratio 1.90; 95% confidence interval: 1.74–2.06) than the comparison cohort. This risk was increased for those with extracardiac defects or a syndrome (hazard ratio: 4.34; 95% confidence interval: 3.39–5.54). Additionally, CHD individuals with severe/univentricular subtypes demonstrate a heightened risk compared to the non-CHD cohort (hazard ratio: 2.35; 95% confidence interval: 1.94–2.84), as well as compared to those with mild/moderate CHD (hazard ratio: 1.28; 95% confidence interval: 1.07–1.53). In addition, pneumonia hospitalisation mortality was elevated above the comparison population with a 30-day mortality rate ratio of 1.31 (95% confidence interval: 1.00–1.73).
Adults with CHD are at elevated risk of pneumonia hospitalisations and pneumonia-associated mortality. This risk is further elevated in those with severe CHD and extracardiac defects.
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