Black people less likely than white peers to get heart valve replacements, study shows

Black people with malfunctioning heart valves are less likely to get replacements than their white counterparts, a new study shows.

For the study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers examined EHR data from 2007 to 2017 for 32,853 people with severe aortic valve stenosis, a condition in which the heart valve malfunctions and may leak blood.

Overall, only 36 percent of the patients got the heart valve replacement procedure within a year of their diagnoses. Of those who underwent the procedure, 22.9 percent were Black while 31 percent were white.

“This study is very important because for the first time it documents a clear racial disparity among those who are already diagnosed. It gets to the bottom of the disparity so we can start to fix it,” said Mohamad Adnan Alkhouli, MD, a cardiologist at Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic, according to a media release from the American Heart Association.

Dr. Alkhouli was not involved in the research.

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