Heart Defects in Minority Children Yield Greater Risk of Death, Study Shows

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, In The News, Research Reveals: Babies, Health & Safety: Big Kids, Research Reveals: Big Kids

heart defects in minority children

Black children with heart conditions have a greater chance of dying before age 5 than their white peers. Credit: Getty Images

The results of the study are short and to the point: Black children with heart conditions have more than a 30 percent greater odd of dying before age 5 than their white peers, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Texas Researchers studied the medical records of almost 20,000 black, Hispanic and white infants born with congenital heart defects between 1996 and 2005. They found that black infants were 32 percent more likely to die before age 5 than white babies. Hispanic babies with heart defects also were more likely to die than their white peers.

Researchers from the study published in Pediatrics say the stats point to the need for preventive strategies to reduce radical and ethnic disparities among infants and young children, U.S. News reports.

"When you consider that the numbers of minority children continue to grow and are expected to account for more than half of all U.S. children by 2040, it's clear we need to reduce the racial and disparities that burden the health care system and adversely affect the lives of families," lead author Wendy Nembhard, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida College of Public Health, says in a university release.

Congenital heart defects are malformations in one or more structures of the heart or major blood vessels that occur before birth. They are the most common of all birth defects and the leading cause of death among infants with birth defects, according to the release.

The new study adds to a growing body of evidence that minority infants with specific types of heart defects have lower survival rates in early childhood than those of non-Hispanic white infants.

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