Doctors need to do more to erase racial disparities, study suggests
SUNDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Rates of high blood pressure among heart failure patients vary widely by race and gender, a new U.S. study finds.
A team at the Medical University of South Carolina, Mt. Pleasant, noted that effective control of hypertension is recommended for heart failure patients, but experts know little about actual rates of treatment and control.
The researchers analyzed data on more than 37,000 heart failure patients at 195 hospitals participating in the American Heart Association's Get With the Guidelines -- Heart Failure program, which promotes treating patients according to the most up-to-date guidelines.
Of the patients in the study, almost two-thirds (62.3 percent) had been diagnosed with hypertension, and 67.3 percent of these high-risk patients were treated with three or more hypertension drugs.
However, the researchers found that rates of prescribed medication varied significantly depending on patient race and gender.
At the time of hospital discharge, 76.3 percent of white men and 71.1 percent of white women had blood pressure controlled at an optimal level (less than 140/90 mm Hg), compared with only 63 percent of black men and 62.9 percent of black women.
The study authors said the "less-than-optimal blood pressure control levels and gender/racial disparities support continued emphasis on hypertension treatment and control among patients with heart failure."
Along with race and gender, other significant factors associated with blood pressure control include age, the presence of atrial fibrillation (a type of irregular heartbeat), high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, the presence of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator or pacemaker, a history of heart attack, and the absence of diabetes, peripheral vascular disease and renal disease.
The study was to be presented Sunday at the American Heart Association annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about lowering high blood pressure.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: Nov. 4, 2007, presentation, American Heart Association annual meeting, Orlando, Fla.
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