Black, Hispanic Patients Often Get Worse Hospital Care After Cardiac Arrest

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 8, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Black and Hispanic Americans might be receiving worse hospital care following cardiac arrest than Whites do, a new study reports.

Only about 20% of Blacks and 22% of Hispanics admitted to a hospital after initially surviving cardiac arrest had a positive outcome, researchers found. The rest either died or suffered brain damage.

By comparison, nearly 34% of Whites had a positive outcome after hospitalization for cardiac arrest, according to results presented Monday at the American Heart Association (AHA) annual meeting in Philadelphia. Findings presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until they appear in a peer-reviewed journal.

Part of the problem is that minority patients often are sent to hospitals that score poorly on quality measures, noted lead researcher Dr. Ryan Huebinger, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at McGovern Medical School at University of Texas Health in Houston.

“We were surprised by how infrequently people from historically underrepresented neighborhoods were admitted to higher performing hospitals,” Huebinger said in an AHA news release.

More than 356,000 Americans experience a cardiac arrest each year outside a hospital, and 60% to 80% die before they can be hospitalized, the AHA says.

To examine disparities in cardiac arrest care, Huebinger and his colleagues analyzed health records from a cardiac arrest registry that represents about 45% of the U.S. population.

The data ran from 2014 to 2021, and included nearly 125,000 cardiac arrest patients -- 90,000 from predominantly White neighborhoods, 20,600 from Black neighborhoods and more than 14,000 from Hispanic neighborhoods, researchers said.

People from White neighborhoods received care at top-performing hospitals about 31% of the time, researchers found.

At the same time, Blacks and Hispanics were sent to top hospitals only 7% and 5% of the time, respectively.

The researchers estimated that the outcomes of Blacks and Hispanics could have improved by greater than 25% had they been sent to a hospital with higher quality measures.

“These findings are important and consistent with multiple studies that have confirmed a close link between racial disparities and hospital quality for many health conditions,” said Dr. Saket Girotra, a cardiologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

“Worse outcomes in Black and Hispanic patients compared to white patients appear to be due to a higher concentration of Black and Hispanic patients in neighborhoods with lower quality hospitals,” added Girotra, who was not involved with the study. “One could argue that efforts targeted towards improving hospital quality could lead to improved patient outcomes and also reduction in disparities by race and ethnicity.”

More information

The Cleveland Clinic has more about cardiac arrest.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Nov. 6, 2023

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