Heart Failure Before 50 More Common in Blacks Than Whites

Among cohort of young adults followed for 20 years, nearly all cases occurred in black subjects

WEDNESDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- In a cohort of young black and white adults followed for two decades, the likelihood of heart failure before the age of 50 was 20 times higher in blacks than whites, according to research published in the March 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Ph.D., M.D., of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues analyzed data from 5,115 black and white men and women who were aged 18 to 30 at baseline. Over 20 years of follow-up, all but one of the 27 subjects who developed heart failure were black.

In blacks, the cumulative incidence of heart failure before the age of 50 was 0.9 percent for men and 1.1 percent for women, compared to 0 percent for white men and 0.08 for white women, the investigators found. Most (75 percent) who went on to develop heart failure had hypertension by the age of 40. At age 18 to 30, independent predictors of heart failure in blacks included higher diastolic blood pressure and body mass index, lower HDL cholesterol, and kidney disease, the researchers report.

"As we enter an era of anticipated sociopolitical transformation, we must make the elimination of disparities in health care one of our highest priorities. Our society should no longer accept treatment driven by economics, convenience, and familiarity; we should insist instead on care guided by science and focused on quality," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

Several study authors disclosed financial relationships with Novartis, Takeda, Merck, and Pfizer; one editorial author disclosed financial relationships with Arca Discovery and Medtronic.

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Eric Metcalf

Eric Metcalf

Published on March 18, 2009

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