Cardiology in the Young

Original Articles

Educational achievement among long-term survivors of congenital heart defects: a Danish population-based follow-up study

Morten Olsena1a2 c1, Vibeke E. Hjortdala2, Laust H. Mortensena3, Thomas D. Christensena2, Henrik T. Sørensena1 and Lars Pedersena1

a1 Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark

a2 Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark

a3 Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark

Abstract

Background Congenital heart defect patients may experience neurodevelopmental impairment. We investigated their educational attainments from basic schooling to higher education.

Patients and methods Using administrative databases, we identified all Danish patients with a cardiac defect diagnosis born from 1 January, 1977 to 1 January, 1991 and alive at age 13 years. As a comparison cohort, we randomly sampled 10 persons per patient. We obtained information on educational attainment from Denmark's Database for Labour Market Research. The study population was followed until achievement of educational levels, death, emigration, or 1 January, 2006. We estimated the hazard ratio of attaining given educational levels, conditional on completing preceding levels, using discrete-time Cox regression and adjusting for socio-economic factors. Analyses were repeated for a sub-cohort of patients and controls born at term and without extracardiac defects or chromosomal anomalies.

Results We identified 2986 patients. Their probability of completing compulsory basic schooling was approximately 10% lower than that of control individuals (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.79, ranged from 0.75 to 0.82 0.79; 95% confidence interval: 0.75–0.82). Their subsequent probability of completing secondary school was lower than that of the controls, both for all patients (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.74; 95% confidence interval: 0.69–0.80) and for the sub-cohort (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.80; 95% confidence interval: 0.73–0.86). The probability of attaining a higher degree, conditional on completion of youth education, was affected both for all patients (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.88; 95% confidence interval: 0.76–1.01) and for the sub-cohort (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.92; 95% confidence interval: 0.79–1.07).

Conclusion The probability of educational attainment was reduced among long-term congenital heart defect survivors.

(Received March 25 2010)

(Accepted October 31 2010)

(Online publication December 22 2010)

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence to: Dr M. Olsen, MD, Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Olof Palmes Alle 43–45, DK-8200 Aarhus N, Denmark. Tel: +45 8942 4800; Fax +45 8942 4801; E-mail: mo@dce.au.dk

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