When Access to Care, Treatment Is Equal, Outcomes of Those With Cardiovascular Disease Similar, Study Finds
Health outcomes for blacks with cardiovascular disease are similar or better than those of whites when differences in access and treatment are minimized, according to a study published in the American Heart Journal, Reuters reports. For the study, Nancy Kressin of the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital and colleagues studied the care and health outcomes of 793 white patients and 229 black patients who were treated at five VA hospitals. The patients all had the same degree of cardiovascular disease, including restricted blood flow as a result of blocked arteries. Kressin said that "over time, the African-American patients fared better in terms of their functional status (e.g. their ability to do the tasks of daily living)." According to the report, "Although African-Americans and whites did not receive identical care, the few differences in outcomes suggest that in this case, different care was not 'disparate' care." Researchers did find that blacks were less likely than whites to receive heart bypass surgery and other treatments, Kressin said. Kressin added that in environments in which health care access and treatment differences are minimized, "so are racial differences in functional outcome" (Rauscher, Reuters, 4/24).
An abstract of the study is available online.