Racial and ethnic disparities in heart failure: current state and future directions

Curr Opin Cardiol. 2021 May 1;36(3):320-328. doi: 10.1097/HCO.0000000000000855.


Purpose of review: This review discusses the current state of racial and ethnic inequities in heart failure burden, outcomes, and management. This review also frames considerations for bridging disparities to optimize quality heart failure care across diverse communities.

Recent findings: Treatment options for heart failure have diversified and overall heart failure survival has improved with the advent of effective pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic therapies. With increased recognition, some racial/ethnic disparity gaps have narrowed whereas others in heart failure outcomes, utilization of therapies, and advanced therapy access persist or worsen.

Summary: Racial and ethnic minorities have the highest incidence, prevalence, and hospitalization rates from heart failure. In spite of improved therapies and overall survival, the mortality disparity gap in African American patients has widened over time. Racial/ethnic inequities in access to cardiovascular care, utilization of efficacious guideline-directed heart failure therapies, and allocation of advanced therapies may contribute to disparate outcomes. Strategic and earnest interventions considering social and structural determinants of health are critically needed to bridge racial/ethnic disparities, increase dissemination, and implementation of preventive and therapeutic measures, and collectively improve the health and longevity of patients with heart failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American
  • Ethnicity
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Heart Failure* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Racial Groups
  • United States / epidemiology