African-Americans have worse quality of life after heart attack or unstable angina

BETHESDA, MD African-American patients have more chest pain, worse quality of life, and worse physical function than white patients one year after suffering acute coronary syndromes, such as heart attacks or unstable angina, according to a new study in the Nov. 15, 2005, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"This is the first study to examine racial difference in health status outcomes, including symptoms, function and quality of life, between whites and blacks; and it has found a significant difference, with blacks having more angina, physical limitations and poorer quality of life one year after an acute coronary syndrome than whites," said John Spertus, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.C., at the Mid America Heart Institute of Saint Luke's Hospital, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Disparities remained even after the researchers took into account differences in hospital treatments and severity of illness.

The researchers tracked 1,159 consecutive patients (196 black and 963 white) who were treated between Feb. 1, 2000 and Oct. 31, 2001 at two Kansas City hospitals, the Mid America Heart Institute and Truman Medical Center. One-year health status was quantified with the Seattle Angina questionnaire (SAQ) and Short Form-12 Physical Component score (SF-12). After one year, 81 patients had died and 199 could not be interviewed.

Although mortality rates were almost identical (7.1 percent for blacks vs. 7.0 for whites), blacks had a higher prevalence of angina (43.4 percent vs. 27.1 percent), worse quality of life according to the Seattle Angina questionnaire, and poorer physical function according to the Short Form-12 Physical Component score. After adjusting for hospital treatments and other factors, the differences in quality of life and physical function remained statistically significant, and there was a trend toward more angina among black patients.


Contact: Amy Murphy
American College of Cardiology

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