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Blacks less likely to get expensive, newer heart treatments

NEW YORK, March 15 Blacks who suffer the most common type of cardiac ischemia non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome are less likely than whites to receive expensive or newer evidence-based treatments, according to a report in a special disparities themed issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

"While previous studies evaluating disparities in cardiac care have mostly focused on disparities in the use of heart catheterization between blacks and whites, this study takes a closer look at a wide range of recommended treatment options. These include newer recommended medications, heart catheterizations, and discharge recommendations for non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome," said the study's lead author Ali F. Sonel, M.D., assistant professor of cardiology at the University of Pittsburgh and director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories at the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System, where he is also a member of the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion.

Cardiac ischemia is the lack of blood flow and oxygen to the heart. "Non-ST-elevation" acute coronary syndromes occur when there are no classic electrocardiogram changes present yet the heart is still not receiving enough oxygen.

American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology joint guidelines recommend that patients with this syndrome undergo early heart catheterization and, if indicated, either angioplasty or bypass surgery. While hospitalized, these patients should also receive aspirin, beta-blockers, newer antiplatelet drugs (including glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor blockers and clopidogrel), and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, if they have heart failure, diabetes or high blood pressure. Upon discharge, they should receive aspirin, beta blockers, clopidogrel, lipid-lowering therapy and ACE inhibitors if indicated as well as smoking cessation and dietary modification counseling and cardiac rehabilitation referra
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Contact: Carole Bullock
carole.bullock@heart.org
214-706-1279
American Heart Association
15-Mar-2005


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