Race and Risk Post-Surgery: Uncovering Disparities in Aortic Valve Replacement

According to a study by The Commonwealth Fund, America ranks last among industrialized countries in measures of health equity and access to care, and has done so each year the study has been published, starting in 2004. Despite clear advancements in technology and delivery of care, accessing these health care innovations remains more of a privilege than a right in the United States.

A crucial component of assessing disparities in health care is understanding what happens after patients are able to access care. Do different subgroups experience differential treatment once they arrive at the hospital? In order to examine this question, analysts at he U.S. News & World Report took a closer look at racial differences in health outcomes for the same eight procedures examined in their first article, focusing on death and unplanned readmission.

After accounting for common comorbidities, analysts found that there remained an excess risk of mortality among Black patients compared to white patients in six of the eight procedures they rate. The most striking differences are observed in aortic valve surgery and heart bypass surgery, where being Black was associated with 17 and eight more deaths per 1,000 inpatient admissions, respectively.

To read the full article by U.S. News & World Report, click here.