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Study Finds Racial Disparities in Advanced Heart Failure Treatment

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Black adults treated at advanced heart failure centers received potentially life-changing therapies, such as transplants and heart pumps, about half as often as white adults, possibly due to racial bias, a small National Institutes of Health-supported study has found.

Researchers followed 377 patients receiving treatment at one of 21 centers in the United States and found that 62 of 277 white adults (22%) received a heart transplant or ventricular assist device (VAD), a mechanical device that pumps blood for the heart. In comparison, 11 of 100 Black adults (11%) received these end-stage heart failure therapies, which can extend and improve a patient’s quality of life.

The researchers said the findings, which appear in Circulation: Heart Failure(link is external), underscore the importance in strengthening equity in clinical decision-making for the 600,000 Americans – particularly Black adults – who have end-stage heart failure. Prior studies have shown Black adults have a greater risk for heart failure and are twice as likely to die from it.

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