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Minority Stroke Patient

American Heart Association Urges Improvement in Stroke Care

By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

The American Heart Association (AHA) is calling for improvements in stroke incidence, prevalence, treatment, and outcomes among patients from ethnic and racial minority groups.

During literature reviews, AHA researchers found various gaps across the board. For example, they noted underrepresented patients are less likely to receive possibly life-saving medication if those patients are experiencing stroke symptoms. Also, Black patients are more likely to experience bad outcomes when participating in post-stroke rehabilitation programs.

In a scientific statement published this week, AHA said it is focused on closing these gaps by addressing the entire care continuum, from social determinants of health (e.g., insurance access, food security, education level, and income) to more common targets (e.g., lifestyle factors, medication adherence, and health literacy). The statement authors also called for better representation in stroke clinical trials, where minority patients historically have been underrepresented. Improving clinical trial representation could help scientists learn more ways to help.

“A common theoretical model of social determinants can help researchers understand the heterogeneity of social determinants, inform future directions in stroke inequities research, support research in understudied areas within the continuum of care, catalyze implementation of successful interventions in additional settings, allow for comparison across studies, and provide insight into whether addressing upstream or downstream social determinants has the strongest effect on reducing inequities in stroke care and outcomes,” the statement authors wrote.

Relias Media’s Stroke 2023: Evolving Progress in Care features modules covering stroke prevention, management, and treatment, as well as detailed reviews of the most recent research. For even more on this and related subjects, be sure to check out the latest issues of Clinical Cardiology Alert, Medical Ethics Advisor, and Neurology Alert.