Background: Congenital heart defects are the most common and resource-intensive birth defects. As children with congenital heart defects increasingly survive beyond early childhood, it is imperative to understand longitudinal disease burden. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine chronic outpatient prescription medication use and expenditures for New York State pediatric Medicaid enrollees, comparing children who undergo cardiac surgery (cardiac enrollees) and the general pediatric population. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of all Medicaid enrollees age <18 years using the New York State Congenital Heart Surgery Collaborative for Longitudinal Outcomes and Utilization of Resources database (2006-2019). Primary outcomes were total chronic medications per person-year, enrollees per 100 person-years using ≥1 and ≥3 medications, and medication expenditures per person-year. We described and compared outcomes between cardiac enrollees and the general pediatric population. Among cardiac enrollees, multivariable regression examined associations between outcomes and clinical characteristics. Results: We included 5,459 unique children (32,131 person-years) who underwent cardiac surgery and 4.5 million children (22 million person-years) who did not. More than 4 in 10 children who underwent cardiac surgery used ≥1 chronic medication compared with approximately 1 in 10 children who did not have cardiac surgery. Medication expenditures were 10 times higher per person-year for cardiac compared with noncardiac enrollees. Among cardiac enrollees, disease severity was associated with chronic medication use; use was highest among infants; however, nearly one-half of adolescents used ≥1 chronic medication. Conclusions: Children who undergo cardiac surgery experience high medication burden that persists throughout childhood. Understanding chronic medication use can inform clinicians (both pediatricians and subspecialists) and policymakers, and ultimately the value of care for this medically complex population.
- chronic medication use
- congenital heart surgery
- public insurance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine