Racial variations in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation use following congenital heart surgery

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Objectives:Previous studies demonstrate racial and ethnic disparities among children undergoing congenital heart surgery. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is used to support critically ill children after congenital heart surgery and improve survival. Thus, racial or ethnic variations in postoperative ECMO use following congenital heart surgery may be associated with racial/ethnic disparities in hospital survival.Methods:All children in the Pediatric Health Information Systems dataset undergoing congenital heart surgery from 2004 to 2015 were examined. Multivariable, multinomial regression models examining hospital survival without ECMO use, survival after ECMO, death after ECMO, and death without ECMO support were constructed.Results:Of 130,860 congenital cardiac surgery patients, 95.4% survived to hospital discharge without requiring ECMO support, whereas 1.3% survived after ECMO support, 1.3% died after ECMO support, and 1.9% died without receiving ECMO support. After adjustment for other covariates, black patients (odds ratio, 1.22; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05-1.42) and patients of other race (odds ratio, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.17-1.58) were at increased odds of mortality compared with white patients. In multivariable multinomial models, black patients had increased risk of death without ECMO support (relative risk, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.11-1.56). Patients of other race (relative risk, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.10-1.69) and governmental insurance (relative risk, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.12-1.37) were also at increased risk of death without ECMO.Conclusions:Black children and children of other race are at increased odds of mortality after congenital heart surgery. These disparities can be traced to variations in ECMO utilization across racial/ethnic groups.

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