Hospital Delays Tied to Racial Divide in Heart Attack
THURSDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Among heart attack
patients, black Americans generally wait longer than whites to
undergo revascularization procedures to restore blood flow to their
hearts, according to a new study.
But this difference is because of hospital quality, not the race
of individual patients, the University of Michigan Health System
Heart attack patients who arrive at hospitals that aren't
equipped to perform revascularization procedures, such as
angioplasty or open-heart surgery, need to be transferred quickly
to a hospital that can do these procedures, the study authors
explained in a university news release.
Black patients are much more likely than whites to initially go
to hospitals that take longer to transfer their patients,
regardless of race, to other hospitals, the researchers said. The
result is that black patients waited six hours longer than whites
to get the life-saving treatment they needed.
The findings, from an analysis of nearly 26,000 Medicare patient
records, are published in the July issue of the journal
"These data suggest that an individual's race may play much less of a role in generating differences in care, while the hospitals where black patients often go may be even more important," lead author Dr. Colin R. Cooke said in the news release.
The reasons for the transfer delays at hospitals that serve
large numbers of black patients aren't clear. The study authors
suggested that better organization and funding at these hospitals
could improve cardiovascular care for black patients.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
heart attack treatment.
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