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Estimating Nationwide Prevalence of Live Births with Down Syndrome and Their Medical Expenditures in Korea.

  • Park, Gun Woo1
  • Kim, Nam Eun1
  • Choi, Eun Kyoung2
  • Yang, Hyeon Jong3, 4
  • Won, Sungho1, 5, 6
  • Lee, Yong Ju7
  • 1 Department of Public Health Science, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea. , (North Korea)
  • 2 Mo-Im Kim Nursing Research Institute, Yonsei University College of Nursing, Seoul, Korea. , (North Korea)
  • 3 SCH Biomedical Informatics Research Unit, Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital, Seoul, Korea. , (North Korea)
  • 4 Pediatric Allergy and Respiratory Center, Department of Pediatrics, Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. , (North Korea)
  • 5 Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea. , (North Korea)
  • 6 Interdisciplinary Program of Bioinformatics, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea. [email protected] , (North Korea)
  • 7 Department of Pediatrics, Hallym University Kangnam Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul, Korea. [email protected] , (North Korea)
Published Article
Journal of Korean medical science
Publication Date
Aug 12, 2019
DOI: 10.3346/jkms.2019.34.e207
PMID: 31392854


This study aimed to estimate the nationwide prevalence of live births with Down syndrome (DS) and its trends and compare the observed and model-based predicted prevalence rates. Further, we compared the direct medical expenditures among DS and non-DS patients. Using the health administrative data of Health Insurance Review and Assessment in Korea, we selected 2,301 children with DS who were born between 2007 and 2016 to estimate the prevalence of live births with DS, and 12,265 non-DS children who were born between 2010 and 2014 to compare the direct medical expenditures among patients. The prevalence of live births with DS was 5.03 per 10,000 births in 9 years, and 13% of children with DS were medical aid recipients during the study period. The medical expenditure of children with DS was about 10-fold higher than that of non-DS children and their out-of-pocket expenditure was about twice as high. The prevalence of live birth with DS is high in the low socioeconomic group and the healthcare costs for the children with DS are significantly higher than those for non-DS children. Therefore, health authorities should help mothers at lower socioeconomic levels to receive adequate antenatal care and consider the cost of medical care for children with DS. © 2019 The Korean Academy of Medical Sciences.

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