According to a study, researchers examined that a Black Communities are obligated to learn more about heart valve disease and the lifesaving procedures available to treat it, according to a report from the Association of Black Cardiologists. It is incumbent upon us as healthcare providers do a better job educating our patients about heart valve disease. Heart valve disease affects more than 5 million U.S. adults and kills an estimated 25,700 Americans each year.
Horne co-chaired the Structural Heart Disease Committee of the Association of Black Cardiologists that last year released recommendations on how to address the disparities in care for minorities with heart valve disease. The organization now intends to team up with local doctors, barbers, clergy and health advocates in black communities to promote awareness of heart valve disease and its treatments when it rolls out an educational campaign in June.
One type of valve condition that usually develops later in life but can also occur at birth is aortic stenosis, a narrowing and stiffness in the aortic valve, a valve that controls the blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body, causing symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath and swelling in the ankles and feet.
Valve conditions can often be treated with medication. But sometimes the problem requires surgery to repair or replace a damaged valve. Options for replacing a valve include open-heart surgery and less invasive transcatheter procedures. When it comes to treatment for heart valve disease, studies have found race-related differences. For instance, a 2013 study showed African-American patients with aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the aortic valve opening were more likely to decline valve replacement surgery than European Americans.
Dr Benjamin Cruz said the lower referral rate might be linked to doctor bias, a potential barrier that doctors should be made aware of and work to overcome starting in medical school. "Only education will be able to break through" biases and hopefully change physicians' behaviour, said Cruz, now a heart failure and heart transplant fellow at the University of Birmingham in Alabama.
The author noted that black patients can also benefit from efforts to bring surgical procedures to treat heart valve diseases to more hospitals that serve a predominantly black population.
They should take the time to learn as much as they can about their patients to better understand how their home life, work environment, educational background and personal relationships affect their health. The complicated words many doctors use to describe diseases and treatments can scare or confuse patients, he said, which may influence whether they decide to have a procedure such as a valve replacement, which can extend survival and lessen symptoms.