Racial Disparities in Failure to Rescue after Pediatric Heart Surgeries in the US

Sundos Alabbadi, Georgina Rowe, George Gill, Joanna Chikwe, Natalia Egorova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To identify the trend in failure to rescue (FTR) and risk factors contributing to racial disparities in FTR after pediatric heart surgery using contemporary nationwide data. Study design: We identified 85 267 congenital heart surgeries in patients <18 years of age from 2009 to 2019 using the Kid's Inpatient Database. The primary outcome was FTR. A mixed-effect logistic regression model with hospital random intercept was used to identify independent predictors of FTR. Results: Among 36 753 surgeries with postoperative complications, the FTR was 7.3%. The FTR decreased from 7.4% in 2009 to 6.3% in 2019 (P =.02). FTR was higher among Black than White children for all years. The FTR was higher among girls (7.2%) vs boys (6.6%), children aged <1 (9.6%) vs 12-17 years (2.4%), and those of Black (8.5%) vs White race (5.9%) (all P <.05). Black race was associated with a higher FTR odds (OR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.20-1.65) after adjusting for demographics, medical complexity, nonelective admission, and hospital surgical volume. Higher hospital volume was associated with a lower odds of FTR for all racial groups, but fewer Black (19.7%) vs White (31%) children underwent surgery at high surgical volume hospitals (P <.001). If Black children were operated on in the same hospitals as White children, the racial differences in FTR would decrease by 47.3%. Conclusions: Racial disparities exist in FTR after pediatric heart surgery in the US. The racial differences in the location of care may account for almost half the disparities in FTR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113734
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - Jan 2024


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