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Population-based registries report 95% 5-year survival for children undergoing surgery for CHD. This study investigated paediatric cardiac surgical outcomes in the Australian indigenous population.
All children who underwent cardiac surgery between May, 2008 and August, 2014 were studied. Demographic information including socio-economic status, diagnoses and co-morbidities, and treatment and outcome data were collected at time of surgery and at last follow-up.
A total of 1528 children with a mean age 3.4±4.6 years were studied. Among them, 123 (8.1%) children were identified as indigenous, and 52.7% (62) of indigenous patients were in the lowest third of the socio-economic index compared with 28.2% (456) of non-indigenous patients (p⩽0.001). The indigenous sample had a significantly higher Comprehensive Aristotle Complexity score (indigenous 9.4±4.2 versus non-indigenous 8.7±3.9, p=0.04). The probability of having long-term follow-up did not differ between groups (indigenous 93.8% versus non-indigenous 95.6%, p=0.17). No difference was noted in 30-day mortality (indigenous 3.2% versus non-indigenous 1.4%, p=0.13). The 6-year survival for the entire cohort was 95.9%. The Cox survival analysis demonstrated higher 6-year mortality in the indigenous group – indigenous 8.1% versus non-indigenous 5.0%; hazard ratio (HR)=2.1; 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.1, 4.2; p=0.03. Freedom from surgical re-intervention was 79%, and was not significantly associated with the indigenous status (HR=1.4; 95% CI: 0.9, 1.9; p=0.11). When long-term survival was adjusted for the Comprehensive Aristotle Complexity score, no difference in outcomes between the populations was demonstrated (HR=1.6; 95% CI: 0.8, 3.2; p=0.19).
The indigenous population experienced higher late mortality. This apparent relationship is explained by increased patient complexity, which may reflect negative social and environmental factors.
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