Prevalence and Cost of Managing Paediatric Cardiac Disease in Queensland

Geoff Strange, Sundar Veerappan, Nelson Alphonso, Stephen Refeld, Simon Stewart, Robert Justo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: There is a paucity of contemporary information regarding the prevalence and related health care expenditure of the most common cardiac conditions in Australian children, including congenital heart disease (CHD).

Methods: The 10 most common cardiac conditions managed by Queensland Paediatric Cardiac Service during 2014-2015 were identified from an electronic database: ventricular septal defect (VSD), pulmonary stenosis, aortic stenosis, tetralogy of Fallot, atrioventricular septal defect, transposition, Ebstein's anomaly, long QT syndrome, dilated cardiomyopathy, and rheumatic carditis. Demographic data, clinic attendance, investigational procedures, and therapeutic interventions were extracted from the electronic health records to derive indicative population estimates and direct health care expenditure relating to CHD.

Results: A total of 2,519 patients diagnosed with the 10 target conditions were being actively managed, including 456 (18.1%) new-born and 787 prevalent cases (2.5/1,000 population) aged <5 years. A total of 12,180 (4.8/case) investigations were performed (6,169 echocardiographic and 279 cardiac catheterisation procedures) costing $2.25 million/annum. A further 5,326 clinic visits (2.1/case, 22% regional) were conducted at a cost of $550,000/annum. A combined total of 804 catheter-based interventions and surgical procedures were performed in 300 cases (11.9%) at a cost of $13.6 million/annum. VSD (38.6% of cases) was the single greatest contributor ($5.1 million/annum) to total combined direct health care costs of $13.6 million/annum for the 2,519 patients.

Conclusions: These pilot data indicate a significant patient population and health care burden imposed by CHD in Queensland. Future initiatives to better quantify this burden, from an individual to health system perspective, are urgently needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-260
Number of pages7
JournalHeart Lung and Circulation
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Acquired heart disease
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Health care service


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