Racial differences in the outcomes of patients with diastolic heart failure

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More than half of all patients with congestive heart failure have preserved left ventricular systolic function. This is particularly common in African American patients, yet there have been few studies examining the long-term natural history of this disorder in African-American and white patients.


We studied 2740 white and 563 African American patients with class II to IV symptoms and preserved systolic function (ejection fraction >40) identified in the Duke Cardiovascular Databank from 1984 to1996. Unadjusted and adjusted 5-year survival rate comparisons were performed with Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazards models, respectively.


The 5-year survival rates were 68% for African American patients and 70% for white patients (P = .55). However, after adjusting for known risk factors, African American patients had a significantly higher mortality risk than white patients (hazard ratio [HR], 1.34; 95% CI, 1.13–1.60). This racial difference in survival rate was most prominent in patients with a non-ischemic etiology (HR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.2–2.0) as compared with patients with ischemic heart failure (HR, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.9–1.4).


Among patients with heart failure and preserved left ventricular systolic function, African American patients have a worse long-term prognosis than white patients. These results are important because of the prevalence of this condition in African American patients and their potential heterogeneous response to many heart failure therapies.

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