Paper Explores Race, Ethnicity and Heart Disease in AFib

"The unique importance of race and ethnicity in determining [atrial fibrillation (AFib)] risk and outcomes must be recognized and should provoke continued research," according to findings from a new paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology as part of nine-part Focused Seminar series addressing racism and health equity in cardiovascular care.

According to Sumeet S. Chugh, MD, FACC, et al., AFib affects at least 60 million people worldwide, accounting for a substantial number of deaths and significant health care costs. Available studies suggest disparities in both treatment and outcomes between White individuals and persons of other races and ethnicities, yet the reasons for these differences and the potential impacts on outcomes are unclear due to the limited number of studies available.

Chugh and colleagues offer several research initiatives to better define and understand the association(s) between race and ethnicity and AFib, including a call for studies that "will gather accurate race-based epidemiological data and evaluate social determinants and genetic factors in the context of multiple races and ethnicities." They also suggest that "more diverse global registries like GARFIELD-AF may help to elucidate the causes of under treatment, and to assess the effect of aggressive management of the most influential comorbidities."

Other suggestions include a "renewed emphasis on structural and social determinants of health that contribute to AFib" as a means of developing a complete and accurate picture of AFib burden in the U.S. and globally. Use of uniform AFib definitions and standardized reporting methods across all setting are also encouraged. Additionally, the authors note the importance of focused efforts to enroll and standardize reporting of individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic group in clinical trials to advance the evidence base for AFib management.

"A renewed and intensive focus on investigating the implications of race and ethnicity on risk, prevention, management, and outcomes of AFib is necessary for the provision of equitable care," said Chugh, et al.

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