Black Patients Have Twice the Risk of Death After Heart Transplant, Recent Study

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A recent study shows a shocking outcome for black patients after receiving an organ transplant. On the other hand, the white patients seem to live a healthier life as compared to the black patients. These racial health disparities came forward in the study published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure

According to this study, the young individuals from the black community have double the risk of death after heart transplant as compared to the young people from white communities. Errol L. Bush, MD is the senior author of this study who explained the increased risk of death among young individuals.

Generally, older patients have more compromised health after major surgery such as a transplant. However, organ transplants can lead to worse outcomes in younger individuals due to the access to health care.

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After a heart transplant, the patient constantly needs to be under proper health care and medication. Meanwhile, young people do not have as much access to financial resources including insurance. 

This research used the data provided by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients. The researchers compared the risk of death between organ recipients from Black and White communities. Also, they considered four different variations of age among these patients. 

According to the data, Black patients face a 30 percent increased death risk after a heart transplant as compared to non-Black patients. Also, the research shows that the health outcomes among younger patients from the Black community are far worse. 

The researchers pointed out that the Black patients aged 18 years to 30 years were at the highest level of death risk after the heart transplant. These patients have twice the risk of death while those aged from 31 years to 40 years have 1.5 times increased death risk. 

The researchers highlight the racial health disparities found in this study and the higher death risk based on the age of Black patients. 

This study also shows that most of the young heart transplant recipients from the Black community had high blood pressure and diabetes. Meanwhile, the non-Black individuals were less likely to have these diseases.

The authors of this study mention that systemic racism and racial disparities in the healthcare system increase the risk of death among these individuals. Also, the unavailability of adequate financial resources creates further difficulties for patients belonging to different age groups.

Organ transplantation requires life long surgical and medical care covered under health insurance. However, the lack of insurance for younger individuals hinders access to necessary medications that help avoid organ rejection. 

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The researchers considered nearly 23,000 patients for this study who underwent a heart transplant. This data was collected from patients earlier between January 2005 to January 2017. Also, this study included 25 percent of female patients with a heart transplant. 

Over the past year, the racial disparities related to health care highlighted during Covid-19. The pandemic also shed light on the issue of lack of health care for Black individuals. Also, previous studies showed that Black people are at higher risk of severe coronavirus infection. This occurs due to lack of access to proper health care and facilities to these individuals. 

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