Racial disparities continue for black women seeking heart health care

Photo of Tarryn Tertulien, B.S., Fourth year medical student, The Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University, Providence, RI.

American Heart Association Meeting Report – Poster #14 Session: APS.01

Despite improvements in heart attack and heart disease care for older women, black women still experience significantly lower rates of treatment when compared with whites or Hispanics, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2019, a premier global exchange of the latest advances in quality of care and outcomes research in cardiovascular disease and stroke for researchers, healthcare professionals and policymakers.

A two-decade study showed an overall increase in heart attack and heart disease treatments after the 2005 publication of standard treatment guidelines, but racial disparities persisted. Specifically, postmenopausal black women were 50 percent less likely and Hispanic women were 16 percent less likely to be treated when they arrived at a hospital with heart attack or coronary artery disease symptoms when compared to white women. This gap persisted after accounting for education, income, insurance status and other heart health complications such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death causing one death every 80 seconds among women. Rapid treatment is critical and while treatment rates appear to be improving, they do not appear to be improving equally for all groups.

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