Heart failure is a serious and common heart ailment that is too often missed in women, Blacks and poorer people when they see their health care provider for a regular appointment, Stanford University researchers say. This new finding is unfortunate because Black patients have the highest incidence of heart failure and the worst clinical outcomes, according to the American Heart Association.
White men are more likely to receive a correct and timely diagnosis of heart failure in their primary care doctor’s office compared to other types of patients, new research shows.
Patients that aren’t white are more likely to only have the condition spotted once they are rushed to emergency care.
All of this could have dire consequences for patients.
“Patients diagnosed with heart failure in the emergency room or during inpatient hospitalization often have more advanced heart failure and complications with worse prognoses than individuals diagnosed with heart failure in a primary care setting,” lead study author Dr. Alexander Sandhu says. Dr.Sandhu is an instructor of medicine in advanced heart failure in the division of cardiovascular medicine and the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute.
One expert called the findings a “wake-up call to primary care physicians and cardiologists.”
Any type of patient “presenting with complaints of shortness of breath, leg swelling, cough and chest pain should have a comprehensive evaluation for cardiac disease and heart muscle dysfunction,” Dr. Guy Mintz says. He directs cardiovascular health and lipidology at Northwell Health’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital, in Manhasset, N.Y.
“The earlier the answer, and the earlier the treatment regimen begins, the better the prognosis,” Mintz says.
In their study, the Stanford team analyzed commercial insurance and Medicare Advantage health care claims data on