Mortality after hospitalization for heart failure in blacks compared to whites

Am J Cardiol. 2010 Mar 1;105(5):694-700. 
Authors: Gordon HS, Nowlin PR, Maynard D, Berbaum ML, Deswal A.

Heart failure (HF) disproportionately affects black compared to white Americans, and overall mortality from HF is greater among blacks. Paradoxically, mortality rates after a hospitalization for HF are lower in black than in white patients. These racial differences might reflect hospital, physician, and patient factors and could have implications for comparative hospital profiles. We identified published studies reporting the posthospitalization mortality for black and white patients with a discharge diagnosis of HF and conducted random-effects meta-analyses with the outcome of all-cause mortality. We included 29 cohorts of hospitalized black and white patients with HF. The unadjusted mean mortality rate after HF hospitalization for black and white patients, respectively, was 6% and 9% for in-hospital, 6% and 10% for 30-day, 10% and 15% for 60- to 180-day, 28% and 34% for 1-year, and 41% and 47% for >1-year follow-up, respectively. The unadjusted combined odds ratios for mortality in black versus white patients ranged from 0.48 for in-hospital (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.45 to 0.51) to 0.77 after >1 year follow-up (95% CI 0.75 to 0.79). In meta-analyses using adjusted data, the combined odds ratio was 0.68 for short-term mortality (95% CI 0.63 to 0.74), and the combined hazard ratio was 0.84 for long-term mortality (95% CI 0.77 to 0.91). In conclusion, mortality after hospitalization for HF was 32% lower during short-term follow-up and 16% lower during long-term follow-up for black than for white patients. The mortality differences imply unmeasured differences by race in clinical severity of illness at hospital admission and might lead to biased hospital mortality profiles.

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