A unique linkage of administrative and clinical registry databases to expand analytic possibilities in pediatric heart transplantation research

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Large clinical, research, and administrative databases are increasingly utilized to facilitate pediatric heart transplant (HTx) research. Linking databases has proven to be a robust strategy across multiple disciplines to expand the possible analyses that can be performed while leveraging the strengths of each dataset. We describe a unique linkage of the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) database and the Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS) administrative database to provide a platform to assess resource utilization in pediatric HTx.


All pediatric patients (1999–2016) who underwent HTx at a hospital enrolled in the PHIS database were identified. A linkage was performed between the SRTR and PHIS databases in a stepwise approach using indirect identifiers. To determine the feasibility of using these linked data to assess resource utilization, total and post-HTx hospital costs were assessed.


A total of 3188 unique transplants were identified as being present in both databases and amenable to linkage. Linkage of SRTR and PHIS data was successful in 3057 (95.9%) patients, of whom 2896 (90.8%) had complete cost data. Median total and post-HTx hospital costs were $518,906 (IQR $324,199-$889,738), and $334,490 (IQR $235,506-$498,803) respectively with significant differences based on patient demographics and clinical characteristics at HTx.


Linkage of the SRTR and PHIS databases is feasible and provides an invaluable tool to assess resource utilization. Our analysis provides contemporary cost data for pediatric HTx from the largest US sample reported to date. It also provides a platform for expanded analyses in the pediatric HTx population.

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