Research Finds Black Men Less Likely Than Black Women and White Patients to Receive Heart Transplant

Scholars from the Indiana University School of Medicine have recently published a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association analyzing the differences in heart transplant acceptance rates between Black and White patients. The results found statistical evidence that Black male patients on the wait list for a heart transplant are less likely than both White men and women, as well as Black women, to be accepted for the operation.

Using data from the United Network for Organ Sharing, the research team reviewed information for 14,890 patients listed as in-need for a heart transplant between October 2018 and March 2023. The sample of patients was roughly 31 percent Black and 69 percent White. About 26 percent of the study’s participants were women. Overall, the rate of acceptance was higher for White patients than Black patients. A higher acceptance rate was also shown for women patients compared to male patients. The paper states the rate of acceptance was “consistently highest for White women followed by Black women, White men, and Black men.”

The study authors state their findings are concerning because Black patients are more likely than White patients to develop heart failure and have a higher risk of dying from heart disease. They believe their results suggest a need for hospitals and organ transplant centers to examine their own transplant data based on gender and race and implement necessary anti-racism and evidence-based bias training to combat the racial inequity of transplant acceptance rates.

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