Congenital heart disease longevity increasing in Quebec

People with congenital heart disease are living longer and both birth and longevity rates in Quebec and the rest of Canada are comparable to statistics from other industrialized nations. Over time, this is leading to growth of an aging congenital heart disease population, particularly for those with severe disease with comorbid conditions, according to a study published online June 18 in Circulation.

Researchers noted that these findings were consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics on U.S. rates for births and numbers of people living with congenital heart disease in aging cohorts.

Quebec is the second largest province in Canada, and with the national and administrative databases in place, the research team led by Ariane J. Marelli, MD, of the McGill Adult Unit for Congenital Heart Disease Excellence at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, looked at congenital heart disease rates for the province. From there, the researchers projected the rates for Canada as a whole.

Comparing data from 2000 through 2010, Marelli et al noticed an 11 percent increase in the number of children and 57 percent increase in the number of adults living with congenital heart disease. They noted that adults accounted for 66 percent of total congenital heart disease patients living in Quebec in 2010. However, comparing prevalence in the Quebec population, 13.11 per 1,000 children and 6.12 per 1,000 adults were living with congenital heart disease in 2010.

“Extrapolating our current study findings to a[sic] an approximate 34 million people, we estimate that there are a total of 257,138 people alive with CHD [congenital heart disease] in Canada. Indexed to the population by age, we expect that in 2010, there were 166,428 and 90,710 adults and children with CHD respectively in Canada,” they stated.

Considering the Canadian healthcare system and comparing this to similar trends in this U.S., this leans toward higher costs over time. In the U.S., cardiovascular birth defects accounted for 34 percent of stays for birth defect hospitalizations and were more than half of the overall costs, according to data they pulled from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

They did not, however, analyze the specific costs to the Canadian health system. However they did note that hospital costs in 2004 in the U.S. were approximately $1.4 billion.