Disparity in Use of Implantable Defibrillators Has Closed Between Whites, Blacks, Study Finds
Black patients hospitalized with cardiac arrest or ventricular arrhythmia in 2000 received implantable cardioverter defibrillators at about 70% the rate of white patients hospitalized with the same condition during the same year, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the Wall Street Journal reports. The study found that the rate has increased since 1990-1992, when the technology was relatively new, and black patients received the device at about 52% the rate of white patients, the Journal reports.
For the study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania studied 570,575 black and white Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized with either cardiac arrest or ventricular arrhythmia from 1990 to 2000 and found that defibrillators were implanted at different rates across the country. Areas with a greater number of black patients were less likely to implement the technology in the 1990s, the study found.
According to the researchers, providing incentives for medical providers to use better technology might further reduce racial disparities in care. Peter Groeneveld, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the lead author of the study, said, "It's pretty clear who's the last on the block to receive the new stuff. It's the hospitals caring for large numbers of black patients."
Andrea Russo, director of the electrophysiology laboratory at the university's Presbyterian Medical Center, said that black U.S. residents have a higher rate of hypertension and factors for heart disease than other groups and are more likely to be candidates for defibrillators (Windham, Wall Street Journal, 1/4).
The study is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the study.