Heart defect death rate lower among blacks

Sept. 23, 2010 at 10:57 PM

ATLANTA, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- About 4.2 percent of all U.S. neonatal deaths -- when a baby dies in the first 28 days of life -- are due to congenital heart defects, officials say.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, released Thursday, says neonatal mortality due to congenital heart defects is 30 percent lower among preterm infants born to African-American mothers than among preterm infants born to white mothers from 2003–2006 in the United States.

However, among full-term infants, blacks had 20 percent higher neonatal mortality due to congenital heart defects than whites, but the reasons for racial differences in neonatal mortality due to congenital heart defects are unclear and further investigation is needed, the report says.

The investigation should include an assessment of the different factors that would affect a prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart defects, differences in the birth prevalence of congenital heart defects and any differences in the accuracy and completeness of cause of death reporting by race/ethnicity, federal health officials say.

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