NIH-Supported Study Finds Racial Disparities in Advanced Heart Failure Treatment

White adults were twice as likely as Black adults to receive mechanical heart pumps or heart transplants.

Research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found White patients with heart failure were twice as likely to get certain procedures including heart transplants, than Black Americans. The data suggest that 22% of white adults were treated using end-stage heart treatments, vs 11% of Black Americans. However, there were no observed associations between race and the rate of death. 6.2 million people in the United States are believed to have heart failure. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, lower body swelling—particularly in the legs and ankles, and fatigue.

Why Is This Important: This article is one of the few that I have seen that points the finger squarely at the specialty providers who are making decisions about who gets these devices. As a primary care provider, it’s important to assist patients in making important decisions about how to manage end-stage heart disease and other chronic diseases to assure they get the best quality care.

For more information, visit the National Institutes of Health.

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