Research explores racial disparities in older patients hospitalized for myocardial infarction


In an analysis in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that included data on 2,918 patients aged 75 years or older who were hospitalized for heart attacks at 94 US hospitals from 2013–2016, Black participants were more likely than white participants to have impairments in cognition (37.6% versus 14.5%), mobility (66.0% versus 54.6%) and vision (50.1% versus 35.7%) at the time of admission to the hospital.

Black participants were also more likely to report a disability in one or more activities of daily living (22.4% versus 13.0%) and an unintentional loss of more than 10 lbs in the year prior to hospitalization (37.2% versus 13.0%).

Black participants had 2-fold higher odds of dying within 6 months, but this elevated risk was no longer significant after adjusting for age, clinical characteristics, and functional/geriatric conditions.

“Functional impairments are powerful predictors of post–heart attack mortality among older adults. These impairments disproportionately affect Black patients who have traditionally been underserved by home health care services,” said corresponding author Patrick C. Demkowicz, BS, of the Yale University School of Medicine. “Our work highlights a pressing need for health systems to routinely screen for functional impairments and to ensure access to home health care services for all patients with such impairments.”

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