Black patients are more likely than white patients to die after heart surgery

heart bypass
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A new study has found that black patients are more likely to die after their heart bypass surgery than white patients in the same hospitals

Researchers from Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan, reviewed Medicare claims from more than 12,000 heart bypass procedures between 2008 and 2014.

The data included claims from 72 hospitals where at least 10 black patients and at least 10 white patients underwent heart bypass surgery.

They used social network analysis to see where provider overlap happened or didn’t happen and created a provider care team segregation score for each hospital.


“Some level of care team segregation within hospitals was very common, and the findings bring up another angle to better understand racial inequities in surgical outcomes”, says co-first author John Hollingsworth, M.D., M.Sc., a professor of urology at Michigan Medicine and of health management and policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

The team said that the reasons for segregation may include patient preference, admission priority, and effects of structural racism.

“In the Medicare population, there is a lack of overlap in the composition of the provider care teams that treat Black and white patients undergoing heart bypass surgery in the same hospital,” Hollingsworth says. “Such provider care team segregation is associated with higher operative mortality for this procedure among Black patients.”

Co-senior author Brahmajee Nallamothu, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of internal medicine and an interventional cardiologist at the Michigan Medicine Frankel Cardiovascular Center, says the findings point to the need for in-depth study of provider care team segregation as part of the effort to reduce health care inequities.

Read the full study here.


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