Racial Disparities Still Exist For Heart Failure Patients

young african american businesswoman having heart attackDespite a decade’s worth of research revealing racial and ethnic disparities among heart failure patients receiving an implantable defibrillator, things aren’t getting any better, according to a new study out this month.

The study, published in Circulation, included more than 21,000 heart failure patients admitted to top hospitals that have adopted the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure program that helps hospitals deliver better care. All patients were eligible for an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, a battery-powered device that shocks the heart should it start beating erratically.

Yet only about one in five patients were counseled about the option of receiving an ICD. Many of those left out of the conversation were blacks, Hispanics and women.

Among patients who were counseled, black and Hispanic patients were less likely than their white counterparts to get an ICD. The data show 65 percent of whites got the device or planned to get it, compared with 58 percent of blacks and 56 percent of Hispanics.