Distance to Care, Rural Dwelling Status, and Patterns of Care Utilization in Adult Congenital Heart Disease

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Many patients with adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) do not receive guideline-directed care. While distance to an ACHD center has been identified as a potential barrier to care, the impact of distance on care location is not well understood. The Oregon All Payer All Claims database was queried to identify subjects 18–65 years who had a health encounter from 2010 to 2015 with an International Classification of Diseases-9 code consistent with ACHD. Residence area was classified using metropolitan statistical areas and driving distance was queried from Google Maps. Utilization rates and percentages were calculated and odds ratios were estimated using negative binomial and logistic regression. Of 10,199 identified individuals, 52.4% lived < 1 h from the ACHD center, 37.5% 1–4 h, and 10.1% > 4 h. Increased distance from the ACHD center was associated with a lower rate of ACHD-specific follow-up [< 1 h: 13.0% vs. > 4 h: 5.0%, adjusted OR 0.32 (0.22, 0.48)], but with more inpatient, emergency room, and outpatient visits overall. Those who more lived more than 4 h from the ACHD center had less inpatient visits at urban hospitals (55.5% vs. 93.9% in those < 1 h) and the ACHD center (6.2% vs. 18.2%) and more inpatient admissions at rural or critical access hospitals (25.5% vs. 1.9%). Distance from the ACHD center was associated with a decreased probability of ACHD follow-up but higher health service use overall. Further work is needed to identify strategies to improve access to specialized ACHD care for all individuals with ACHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)532-540
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Access to care
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Epidemiology
  • Health outcomes
  • Rural health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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