Ethnic variation in acute myocardial infarction presentation and access to care

Am J Cardiol. 2009 May 15;103(10):1368-73. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2009.01.344. Epub 2009 Apr 1.


Given the growing ethnic diversity in Canada, it is essential to recognize potential ethnic variability in acute myocardial infarction (AMI) symptoms to increase timely and effective treatment. We thus examined ethnic variation in symptom presentation and access to care of patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with AMI. A random sample of 406 health records of Caucasian, Chinese, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and First Nations patients discharged from hospitals in the Calgary Health Region (Alberta, Canada) was audited. Measured variables were compared across ethnic groups and associations with classic AMI symptom profile and timely presentation to a hospital were examined. Chinese, South Asian, and Southeast Asian patients were 64% to 69% less likely than Caucasian patients to have a classic symptom profile reported and were less likely to speak English than their Caucasian and First Nations counterparts (p <0.001). Thirty-nine percent of patients who had a reported distinct time of symptom onset waited >12 hours to present to the ED; even in patients who presented with a classic symptom profile, South Asians were 70% less likely than Caucasians to report to the ED within 3 hours of symptom onset. Caucasians were significantly more likely to undergo angiography within 3 hours of presentation to the ED (42%, p = 0.001). In conclusion, explanatory variables associated with variability in symptom presentation and access to care associated with ethnicity require further exploration to ultimately develop effective strategies aimed at increasing timely presentation and care access.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Canada
  • Demography
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Myocardial Infarction / ethnology*
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors