Younger Hispanic women face higher risk of death from heart attack

November 19, 2013

Younger Hispanic women face a higher risk of death in hospitals after a heart attack, are more likely to suffer from co-existing conditions such as diabetes, and are less likely to undergo percutaneous coronary interventions or coronary artery bypass surgery as compared with white women and men, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013.

Researchers analyzed a large in-patient population of about 207,000 heart attack hospitalizations for adult men and women with race/ethnicity data, including more than 6,500 Hispanic and less than 65 years old. Hispanic and black women were significantly younger at the time of hospitalization for heart attack compared with their white counterparts.

Researchers found:

  • After adjusting for clinical and demographic characteristics, younger Hispanic, black and white women were 1.5, 1.4, and 1.2 times more likely, respectively to experience higher in-hospital death compared with white men.
  • Younger Hispanic women also suffered the highest rates of diabetes at 55.9 percent compared with 46.1 percent of black women and 35.9 percent of white women.
  • 47.4 percent black women, 50.1 percent of Hispanic women and 58.2 percent of had percutaneous coronary interventions or surgery compared to 73.3 percent of white men.

Doctors may not recognize risk factors and symptoms for young women suffering from ischemic heart disease and younger Hispanic women in particular, researchers said. Other factors include language barriers, lack of access to health care, provider bias and differences in treatment patterns.

"Our findings of striking racial/ethnic, gender and age disparities in treatment patterns and outcomes suggest that young minority women should be targeted for both primary and secondary prevention of ," said Fatima Rodriguez, M.D., M.P.H., study leading author, Internal Medicine Resident at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass.

Explore further: Why do black women have a higher risk of death from heart disease than white women?

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