Black Heart Attack Victims Who Live In High-Poverty Areas Are Less Likely to Survive Five Years

A new study by researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center finds that the neighborhood where you live may play a significant role in your chances of survival after suffering from a heart attack.

The researchers analyzed records from 31,275 patients who were treated for a heart attack in a Kaiser Permanente hospital in Southern California between 2006 and 2016. The researchers assigned each patient a neighborhood disadvantage score based on home address using a validated index for assessing neighborhood disadvantage based on 17 variables reflecting education, income, employment, and household characteristics. The researchers examined outcomes for each patient over an average of 5 years.

The study found that Black patients from disadvantaged neighborhoods were significantly more likely to die within 5 years of surviving a heart attack than White patients. In contrast, there was no difference in rates of death between White patients and Black patients who lived in well-resourced neighborhoods.

“All patients in this study had equal access to medical care and were treated at the same medical facilities, but despite comparable health care access, Black patients from lower resourced neighborhoods still had higher mortality compared to White patients,” said the senior author of the research, Mingsum Lee, a cardiologist with the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. “This study suggests that social and environmental factors can affect a person’s outcome after a heart attack, and where a person lives can have a powerful impact on health outcomes.”

The full study, “Neighborhood Resources and Racial/Ethnic Differences in Survival After Myocardial Infarction,” was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. It may be accessed here.

 

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