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Canadian Journal of Cardiology

RACIAL/ETHNIC DIFFERENCES IN CARDIOVASCULAR OUTCOMES IN A UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM: INSIGHTS FROM THE CARTAGENE COHORT

      BACKGROUND

      While prior studies have shown racial/ethnic differences in cardiovascular (CV) outcomes within private or mixed health care systems, it remains uncertain whether inequalities in cardiovascular outcomes exist between different races and ethnicities in universal health care contexts. We aimed to determine whether there are racial/ethnicity disparities in long-term CV outcomes within a single-payer universal health care system.

      METHODS AND RESULTS

      The CARTaGENE study is a population-based prospective cohort study with enrollment of 19,996 individuals between 40-69 years in 2009, in the province of Québec, Canada. Participants residing in four large metropolitan areas were randomly chosen from the provincial health insurance registry by strata of age, sex, and postal codes. Follow-up was available up to 2016. For this analysis, we retained only participants without prior known CV disease. The primary composite endpoint was time to the first CV event or intervention (CV death, acute coronary syndrome, heart failure, coronary revascularization, ischemic stroke, or peripheral vascular event or revascularization). We used unadjusted and adjusted Cox proportional hazards to evaluate the association of self-defined race/ethnicity with the primary endpoint. There were 17,802 eligible participants with a mean age of 51 years (52.5% females) with 111,312 person-years of follow-up (median follow-up of 6.6 years). South Asian (SA) participants had the highest prevalence of diabetes mellitus (29%) and hypertension (32%). After adjustment for age and sex, SA ethnicity was associated with a 95% relative increase in risk for CV events, while East/Southeast Asian (ESA) ethnicity was associated with a 42% relative decrease in risk for CV events compared to White participants. After further adjustment for socioeconomic status and CV risk factors, ESA ethnicity remained associated with a similar decreased CV risk. In contrast, the association of SA ethnicity with increased CV risk was attenuated after full adjustment for baseline characteristics (Table 1).

      CONCLUSION

      Racial/ethnic disparities in long-term CV outcomes are present in a single-payer universal healthcare setting. ESA ethnicity was associated with a lower risk of long-term CV outcomes. Future studies are needed to corroborate the reduced risk of long-term major CV events associated with ESA ethnicity. Understanding the reasons related to potential CV protection with ESA ethnicity could facilitate endeavors to reduce long-term CV outcomes in other races/ethnicities.
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