Twenty-five–year survival for aboriginal and caucasian children with congenital heart defects in Western Australia, 1980 to 2010

Wendy N. Nembhard, Jenny Bourke, Helen Leonard, Luke Eckersley, Jingyun Li, Carol Bower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


Background: Australian Aboriginal children have increased infant and childhood mortality compared with Caucasian children, but their mortality related to congenital heart defects (CHDs) throughout life is unknown. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using data on 8,110 live born, singleton infants with CHDs born January 1980 to December 2010 from the Western Australian Register of Developmental Anomalies. Vital status was determined from death and medical records. Data for infants with chromosomal anomalies (except Down syndrome) were excluded. Kaplan-Meier Product-Limit estimates and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were computed by Aboriginality. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs were calculated from multivariable Cox-Proportional Hazard Regression models. Results: Aboriginal children had lower survival than Caucasians for all CHDs combined but most notably during the neonatal period for functional single ventricle (50.0% vs. 86.1%; p = 0.015) and during the postneonatal period for tetralogy of Fallot (87.0% vs. 97.4%; p = 0.021) and atrioventricular septal defect (60.0% vs. 94.6%; p = 0.010). After adjusting for covariates except remoteness and socioeconomic status (SES), Aboriginal children with all CHDs combined (HR = 1.4; 95% CI, 1.0–1.9), with transposition of the great arteries (HR = 4.3; 95% CI, 1.0–18.9) or functional single ventricle (HR = 8.6; 95% CI, 1.3–57.9) had increased risk of mortality compared with Caucasian children. When remoteness and SES were included, the risks were not statistically significant. Conclusion: Long-term survival was lower for Aboriginal children with CHDs, and Aboriginal children with specific CHD phenotypes had increased risk of mortality throughout life. Increased risk may be due to SES and environmental factors. Birth Defects Research (Part A), 2016.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1016-1031
Number of pages16
JournalBirth Defects Research Part A - Clinical and Molecular Teratology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


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