University Study Finds Racial Disparity in Survival Rates After Coronary Bypass Surgery

EAST-CAROLINA-UNIVA new study by researchers at Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, has found a racial disparity in death rates for patients who underwent coronary bypass surgery and who have peripheral artery disease.

Researchers examined the records of more than 13,000 patients who underwent coronary bypass surgery. The data showed that for patients who also had peripheral artery disease, the average patient survived 9.2 years after having surgery. But for White patients the average survival time was 9.5 years and for Blacks who had bypass surgery the average survival time was eight years.

Lead author Dr. Jimmy T. Efird, an epidemiologist at the university, offers the following explanation for the racial gap: “To a large extent, it is a resource problem. Often black PAD patients will have ambulatory restrictions and may need special transportation to and from their follow-up visits that may not be fully covered by their health insurance or other government programs. Income disparities, fear of the medical system and historic discrimination also may exasperate the situation.”

The study was published in the July 2013 issue of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery. It may be viewed here.

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