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New Study Shows that Black Heart Failure Patients Have the Worst Prognoses

A new study published in Circulation by the University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers has proved that heart failure in Black patients even after medical professions use biomarker tests to developed treatments for each specific patient.

Heart failure affects nearly 5 million patients in the United States and the American Heart Association says that heart-related diseases are the leading causes of death for Americans, with African Americans having a higher percentage of risks.

Vibhu Parcha, M.D., a clinical research fellow in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease, and his team, was able to analyze data from a trial involving biomarker-intensified treatment in heart failure.

“The assessment of heart failure patients in the setting of a randomized clinical trial allowed us to look closely at the racial differences in the clinical characteristics and outcomes of heart failure patients,” Parcha said.

Researchers found that Black heart failure patients had worse prognoses compared to their white counterparts.

“Heart failure is a serious medical condition, and all heart failure patients require close medical attention and care,” said senior author Pankaj Arora, M.D., a physician-scientist in the UAB Division of Cardiovascular Disease. “We have previously shown that even healthy Black individuals have lower levels of beneficial hormones produced by the heart called natriuretic peptides.”

“The diseased heart in conditions like heart failure produces higher levels of these hormones. As heart failure worsens, the secretion of the hormone increases as a reflection of the activation of the neurohormonal system. Therefore these hormones act as a gold-standard biomarker for the status of heart failure. With appropriate treatment, we can improve the functioning of the heart, which in turn causes a reduction in this biomarker hormone.”

It is important for patients to take their heart failure medications regularly and seek medical care to ensure that their medications are being changed adequately based on their clinical condition.

“Both Black individuals and white individuals with heart failure have a good prognosis when they are receiving adequate medical care for their heart failure and also have their biomarker (NT-proBNP) levels less than 1,000,” he said.

“However, Black heart failure patients had worse prognosis irrespective of attainment of the biomarker targets, which indicates that aggressive up-titration of goal-directed therapy must be done for these heart failure patients despite the attainment of biomarker goals. These racial differences in the care are important as Black individuals are at a greater risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure and need to be treated adequately once the disease develops.”


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