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Pediatric Heart Surgeons May Be Best Choice for Adults
Date:11/7/2008

iatric patients within the same diagnostic subgroups undergo repair by surgeons whose primary focus is congenital heart surgery. The separation, therefore, appears primarily motivated by an arbitrary designation of 'adulthood' rather than a fundamental difference in the underlying disease process," Karamlou said.

The findings, published online Nov. 7 in the journal Circulation, show the need for initiatives to develop medical centers that include congenital heart surgeons for managing adult congenital heart disease, according to Karamlou.

"We did this study to define national practice patterns for adult congenital heart disease patients and to determine whether these patients experience improved outcomes when treated by specialized pediatric heart surgeons. This information is important, given the rapidly increasing numbers of adult patients with congenital heart disease," she said.

In 2002, 650,000 to 1.3 million people in the United States had congenital cardiovascular defects, according to the American Heart Association. Overall, congenital cardiovascular defects affect about the same number of people younger and older than age 25, but the proportions differ according to the type of defect. In 2004, U.S. hospital costs for congenital cardiovascular defects were $2.6 billion, the researchers said.

More information

The March of Dimes has more about congenital heart defects.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Nov. 7, 2008


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