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Social Vulnerability May Increase Premature CVD Mortality

Relative risks for premature CVD mortality varied considerably according to demographic characteristics, including ethnicity and rurality

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MONDAY, Oct. 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. counties with more social vulnerabilities have higher premature cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, according to a study published online Oct. 18 in Circulation.

Safi U. Khan, M.D., from the DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center in Houston, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study from 2014 to 2018 to examine whether underlying social vulnerabilities of counties influence premature CVD mortality (<65 years of age). Scores for the overall social vulnerability index (SVI) and its four subcomponents were calculated using 15 social attributes.

The researchers found that the age-adjusted CVD mortality rate was 47.0 per 100,000 person-years, overall. Counties with more social vulnerabilities and CVD mortality were clustered across the Southwestern and Southeastern parts of the United States. From the first to the fourth SVI quartiles, the age-adjusted CVD mortality rates increased in a stepwise manner. Compared with those in the first quartile, counties in the fourth SVI quartile had significantly higher mortality for CVD, ischemic heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and heart failure (rate ratios, 1.84, 1.52, 2.03, 2.71, and 3.38, respectively). There was considerable variation observed in relative risks by demographic characteristics. Among all ethnicities/races, non-Hispanic Blacks had significantly higher relative risks for mortality from stroke and heart failure in the fourth versus the first SVI quartile (1.65 and 2.42, respectively). Twofold to fivefold higher mortality attributable to CVD and subtypes was seen in rural versus urban counties with more social vulnerabilities.

"There is an urgent need for everyone to realize the importance of these social risks and their potential impact on health," a coauthor said in a statement.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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