Disparities in Cardiac Care for Patients With Complex Cardiovascular Care Needs

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The United States continues to have a prevailing public health problem related to disparities in healthcare. Factors contributing to disparities include ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, educational level, geographic location, and hospital characteristics. In cardiovascular care, gaps in care have been associated with lack of conformity to evidence-based therapies known to improve clinical outcomes, including survival, quality of life, and freedom from rehospitalization. Specifically, there are disparities in use of a number of cardiovascular life-saving procedures including cardiac catheterization, percutaneous coronary intervention, coronary artery bypass surgery, and implantation of defibrillators and cardiac resynchronization devices. The purpose of this article was to illustrate the range of disparities that exist in relation to management of patients with acute coronary syndromes, interventional cardiology procedures, cardiac surgery, heart failure, and device implantation. Because the impact on patient outcomes is high, potential interventions to address disparities will be provided.

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