Race affects hospitalization rates for AF in the United States

November 11, 2008

African Americans are half as likely to be hospitalized for atrial fibrillation (AF) as whites, according to Paul Tabereaux, MD, MPH, and colleagues.

African Americans are half as likely to be hospitalized for atrial fibrillation (AF) as whites, according to Paul Tabereaux, MD, MPH, and colleagues.

Data on more than 297 million hospitalizations from 1996 to 2005 were obtained; the data included hospitalizations with a principal diagnosis of AF for patients 18 years or older and race designated as either African American or white.

Among the hospitalizations for AF, white race was twice as common as African American race (1.3 percent vs. 0.6 percent; P < 0.001). In the multivariate analysis that adjusted for age, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, valvular heart disease, congestive heart failure and ischemic heart disease, African American race was independently associated with a 48 percent lower chance of AF being the primary reason for hospitalization compared with white race.

“A second and unexpected finding was that the rate of increase in admissions for AF as a primary diagnosis among African Americans was more than twice that of the increase seen among white patients over the period of 1996 to 2005 when adjusted for their race-specific total admissions for all causes,” according to Dr. Tabereaux, academic fellow in cardiology and electrophysiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham.