To explore racial differences in characteristics, procedural treatments, and mortality of hospitalized atrial fibrillation (AF) patients.
Despite a higher burden of AF risk factors, Black individuals have a lower prevalence of AF than their White counterparts. There is suggestion that AF may go undetected in minority groups, and there may be disparities in both diagnosis and treatment of AF.
The study sample was drawn from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project database created by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Outcomes included AF hospitalization rate, in-hospital procedures performed, and in-hospital mortality within 6 defined sex-race subgroups: Black males, Black females, White males, White females, other males, and other females.
165,319 hospitalizations (41% White male, 41% White female, 4% Black male, 4% Black female, 5% other male, 5% other female) with a primary discharge diagnosis of AF were identified. Black males and females were significantly younger than White patients and had more traditional and non-traditional risk factors. Black males and females were significantly less likely to have an ablation procedure or cardioversion than White males. Black race was an independent predictor of in-hospital mortality (Odds Ratio [95% CI] of 1.90 [1.5, 2.5] for Black males and 1.38 [1.1, 1.8] for Black females).
Using a large, contemporary sample of inpatients, we found significant racial differences in baseline characteristics, treatments, and outcomes of patients hospitalized with AF. There appear to be important racial disparities in the care of minorities who are hospitalized with AF that require further investigation.