-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Racial disparities
in patients' death risk after heart bypass surgery are affected by
the quality of the hospital in which the surgery is performed, a
large new study suggests.
Racial disparities in death rates after bypass surgery are well
documented, but less was known about how hospital quality might
contribute to these disparities, the researchers said.
They analyzed data from more than 170,000 Medicare patients who
had heart bypass surgery. Of those patients, about 9 percent were
nonwhite. The researchers found that nonwhite patients had a 33
percent higher death rate after bypass surgery than white
In hospitals with the highest rates of nonwhite patients (more
than 17.7 percent), the death rate was 4.8 percent for nonwhite
patients and 3.8 percent for white patients, according to the
study, which was published online Jan. 8 in the journal
Hospital quality, socioeconomic status and patient factors
accounted for 53 percent of the disparity between nonwhite and
white patients. The reasons for a large portion of the disparity,
however, remain unknown, said study author Dr. Govind Rangrass and
colleagues at the University of Michigan.
Having less access to high-quality hospitals with low death
rates explains a large portion of racial disparities in death rates
following heart bypass surgery, the researchers said. Other factors
might include regional variations in hospital quality, how close
patients live to high-quality hospitals and race-based referral
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about
heart bypass surgery.
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