Abstract 16769: Race to the Top: Are Children With Congenital Heart Disease Off to a False Start?
Background: Clinical trials and registries have found that children with congenital heart disease (CHD) have poorer neurodevelopment than their unaffected peers. Recent emphasis on mandatory school-based assessment, including as part of the U.S. Department of Education Race to the Top program, provides a unique opportunity to assess how such impairment impacts school performance. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the association of CHD with a) performance on standardized tests and b) the need for special education services.
Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study comparing school performance for 438 children born 2002-2003 with a history of surgery for CHD at our institution vs. that of children in our state without CHD. Our two primary outcome measures were a) the % of children meeting standards on the various portions of the 3rd grade Criterion Referenced Competency Test and b) the % of children receiving an individualized education plan for special education services in 2008-2011.
Results: Children with CHD were more likely not to meet standards in math or social studies, but were more likely to meet standards for reading. There were no significant differences in English or science. (Figure) Among those with CHD, presence of a non-cardiac abnormality was a risk factor for not meeting standards (p<0.01) but surgical risk category was not. In all years, children with CHD were significantly more likely to receive special education services (range 28% - 45% per year) as compared to other children (range 11%-12% per year, p<0.0001).
Conclusions: CHD is an important risk factor for poor performance on the math and social studies portions of standardized testing, but increased CHD surgical risk does not translate to poorer school performance. Students with CHD are receiving special education services at increased proportions as compared to their peers, a fact that may explain improved reading performance in those with CHD as compared to their peers.
Author Disclosures: M. Oster: None. A. Ehrlich: None. W.T. Mahle: None. J. Knight: None. B. Williams: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.