To determine the birth prevalence of congenital heart defects (CHDs) across the spectrum of common defects in very/extremely premature infants and to compare mortality rates between premature infants with and without CHDs.Study design
The Kids' Inpatient Databases (2003-2012) were used to estimate the birth prevalence of CHDs (excluding patent ductus arteriosus) in very/extremely premature infants born between 25 and 32 weeks' gestational age. Birth prevalence was compared with term infants for a subset of “severe” defects expected to be near universally diagnosed in the neonatal period. Weighted multivariable logistic regression was used to calculate aORs of mortality comparing very and extremely premature infants with vs without CHDs.Results
We identified 249 011 very/extremely premature infants, including 28 806 with CHDs. The overall birth prevalence of CHDs was 116 per 1000 very/extremely premature births. Severe CHDs had significantly higher birth prevalence in very/extremely premature infants when compared with term infants (7.4 per 1000 very/premature births vs 1.5 per 1000 term births; P < .001). Very/extremely premature infants with severe CHDs had an overall 26.3% in-hospital mortality and a 7.5-fold increased adjusted odds of death compared with those without CHDs. Mortality varied widely by defect in very/extremely premature infants, ranging from 12% for interrupted aortic arch to 67% for truncus arteriosus.Conclusions
Given the increased birth prevalence of severe CHDs in very/extremely premature infants, and significantly higher mortality, there is justification for intensive interventions aimed at decreasing the likelihood of premature delivery for patients where CHD is diagnosed in utero.