Hispanics Have Advantage in Surviving Heart Failure

Hispanics are more likely than whites to survive hospital stays

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Hispanics have several risk factors for heart failure, but little research has been available regarding Hispanic patients suffering the condition. A new study suggests that when it comes to survival, they may have an advantage.

Hispanic heart failure patients with normal heart function are more likely to survive their hospital stay as compared to non-Hispanic white patients.

"Quit smoking and monitor blood pressure to lessen your heart failure risk."

Dr. Rey P. Vivo, lead author of the study and a fellow in the Division of Cardiology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and the Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center in Houston, noted that Hispanics make up the fastest growing ethnic minority in the U.S. yet very little is known about quality and results of care for Hispanic heart failure patients.

During the study researchers reviewed data from 247 U.S. hospitals in the Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure program between 2005 and 2010. Investigators divided both Hispanic and non-Hispanic patients into groups based on reduced or normal ejection fracture, a measure of the heart's function based on the left ventricle's ability to pump blood.

Researchers found that among patients with normal heart function, Hispanic patients were 50 percent less likely to die during their hospital stay. There was no difference in survival among patients with reduced heart function.

They also noticed that there were no major differences in care received among Hispanic or non-Hispanic patients, though the quality of care improved for all patients during the five-year study period.

“One possible reason for the survival difference between heart failure patients with preserved heart function is that Hispanics tend to be younger and may not be as sick as hospitalized white heart failure patients,” Dr. Vivo said. “That could be because Hispanics are more likely to have inadequate or no health insurance. So, they are more likely to go to the hospital for their care, versus seeking care in doctors’ offices or outpatient clinics.”

Investigators suggest future studies should focus on readmission rates for heart failure patients from various ethnic groups after they leave the hospital.

The Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure program is provided by the American Heart Association, and receives part of its funding from Medtronic and Ortho-McNeil. It previously was funded by GlaxoSmithKline.

The study was recently published in the American Heart Association journal, Circulation: Heart Failure.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
March 14, 2012
Last Updated:
March 15, 2012