Addressing disparities in care for minorities with heart valve disease

Doctors and African-American communities are obligated to learn more about heart valve disease and the lifesaving procedures available to treat it, according to a report from the Association of Black Cardiologists.

“It is incumbent upon us as healthcare providers [to] do a better job educating our patients about heart valve disease,” said Dr. Aaron Horne Jr., an interventional cardiologist at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

Horne co-chaired the Structural Heart Disease Committee of the Association of Black Cardiologists that last year released recommendations on how to address the disparities in care for minorities with heart valve disease. The organization now intends to team up with local doctors, barbers, clergy and health advocates in black communities to promote awareness of heart valve disease and its treatments when it rolls out an educational campaign in June.

Lionel Phillips, the organization’s development officer, said the group will hold presentations and health fairs in six states, including California, Texas, and Virginia. He said the cardiology association will tap into the informal health education network in those communities because, “for people to buy into a health message, they certainly have to hear it from people they trust.”

Heart valve disease affects more than 5 million U.S. adults and kills an estimated 25,700 Americans each year.
One type of valve condition that usually develops later in life but can also