Enriching the American Heart Association COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry Through Linkage With External Data Sources: Rationale and Design

Andrew S. Oseran, Tianyu Sun, Rishi K. Wadhera, Issa J. Dahabreh, James A. de Lemos, Sandeep R. Das, Christine Rutan, Aarti H. Asnani, Robert W. Yeh, Dhruv S. Kazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The AHA Registry (American Heart Association COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry) captures detailed information on hospitalized patients with COVID-19. The registry, however, does not capture information on social determi-nants of health or long-term outcomes. Here we describe the linkage of the AHA Registry with external data sources, including fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare claims, to fill these gaps and assess the representativeness of linked registry patients to the broader Medicare FFS population hospitalized with COVID-19. METHODS AND RESULTS: We linked AHA Registry records of adults ≥65 years from March 2020 to September 2021 with Medicare FFS claims using a deterministic linkage algorithm and with the American Hospital Association Annual Survey, Rural Urban Commuting Area codes, and the Social Vulnerability Index using hospital and geographic identifiers. We compared linked individuals with unlinked FFS beneficiaries hospitalized with COVID-19 to assess the representativeness of the AHA Registry. A total of 10 010 (47.0%) records in the AHA Registry were successfully linked to FFS Medicare claims. Linked and unlinked FFS beneficiaries were similar with respect to mean age (78.1 versus 77.9, absolute standardized difference [ASD] 0.03); female sex (48.3% versus 50.2%, ASD 0.04); Black race (15.1% versus 12.0%, ASD 0.09); dual-eligibility status (26.1% versus 23.2%, ASD 0.07); and comorbidity burden. Linked patients were more likely to live in the northeastern United States (35.7% versus 18.2%, ASD 0.40) and urban/metropolitan areas (83.9% versus 76.8%, ASD 0.18). There were also differences in hospital-level characteristics between cohorts. However, in-hospital outcomes were similar (mortality, 23.3% versus 20.1%, ASD 0.08; home discharge, 45.5% versus 50.7%, ASD 0.10; skilled nursing facility discharge, 24.4% versus 22.2%, ASD 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Linkage of the AHA Registry with external data sources such as Medicare FFS claims creates a unique and generalizable resource to evaluate long-term health outcomes after COVID-19 hospitalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere7743
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 20 2022


  • COVID-19
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • fee-for-service
  • medicare
  • mortality
  • postdischarge outcomes
  • readmissions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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