Poor More Likely to Die Post-heart Surgery

CLEVELAND, April 8 (UPI) — Poor people are more likely than rich people to die within 10 years of undergoing heart surgery, regardless of race or gender, U.S. researchers found.

Study author Colleen G. Koch, a cardiac anesthesiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues tracked the survival of 15,156 white men, 6,932 white women, 678 black men and 564 black women, who underwent heart bypass or valve surgery from 1995 to 2005.

The study, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, found a drop in wealth had a corresponding “dose-dependent” decrease in the long-term survival rate. Those in the lowest socioeconomic position had a 19 percent to 26 percent higher chance of dying within five years of the surgery compared to those in the highest socioeconomic position.

“We were surprised that consistently and pervasively, through every way of looking at the data, it turns out this isn’t about skin color or gender,” Koch said in a statement. “It’s about being poor.”

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