Study shows blacks more likely to die from sudden cardiac arrest, less likely to receive preventive treatment

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From Ebony.comIn a survey released on Oct. 17, the Heart Rhythm Society, along with Ipsos Healthcare, reported that sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) claims 350,000 lives in the United States each year, at a rate of nearly 1,000 people per day. Despite the fact that SCA is a leading cause of death in the United States, only 18 percent of African Americans were aware of the condition, compared with 24 percent of the larger population. Physicians also demonstrated a startling lack of knowledge about SCA, with 90 percent of African Americans saying their doctors had never talked to them about their possible SCA risk.

Because of a cascade of risk factors — higher rates of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity, and other health problems — African Americans also have a higher risk of SCA. “African Americans’ increased chances of losing their lives to SCA may also be attributed to a lack of access to proper care,” Walter Clair, M.D., a cardiologist at Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute in Nashville adds.

The Heart Rhythm Society-Ipsos survey illustrates his point. The survey found that even when African Americans were diagnosed with a problem that might lead to SCA, they were less likely to be given the optimum preventive treatment: an implanted defibrillator (a device to regulate the heart’s rhythm) or appropriate medications.

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