Black Patients Receive Worse Cardiac Care in US Hospitals: Study

by VR Sreeraman on Sep 16 2009 12:42 PM

Black patients who have heart attacks in a hospital are significantly less likely to survive than white patients, according to a study published Tuesday.

Researchers examined the cases of 10,011 patients who went into cardiac arrest at 274 US hospitals associated with the National Registry of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, a program which aims to improve survival rates.

They found that black patients had a 27 percent lower chance of surviving to discharge than white patients.

"These unadjusted survival differences by race were, in large part, attributable to black patients being more likely to receive treatment at hospitals with worse outcomes," the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded.

Most of the 1,883 black patients were concentrated in hospitals with the lowest overall rates of survival to discharge.

Black patients were more likely to be admitted to a hospital with more than 500 beds and in which they were placed in units that were not monitored.

They were also more likely to be sicker at the time of cardiac arrest.

But even when researchers adjusted the data to account for differences in patient characteristics and hospital care levels, black patients were still 10 percent less likely to survive.

"Strategies to eliminate racial disparities in survival are not likely to succeed unless they improve resuscitation survival and the quality of postresuscitation care in hospitals that are poor performers and in which black patients are more likely to receive care," wrote lead author Paul Chan of Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute in Missouri.