Having less access to health care, pulmonary hypertension patients from lower socioeconomic status present a more advanced state of the disease at the time of initial evaluation, compared to higher socioeconomic groups. These are the results of a study conducted by Long Island Jewish School of Medicine researcher Jose Cardenas-Garcia, a pulmonary and critical care fellow at Hofstra North Shore.
The study, entitled “Relationship Between Socio-economic Status And Disease Severity At Time Of First Evaluation In Patients With Pulmonary Hypertension,” was presented at the 2014 American Thoracic Society International Conference, happening since May 16th and ending today.
The goal was to determine the link between socioeconomic status, measured by annual household income, and the state of pulmonary hypertension at the time of first evaluation. In order to do this, researchers considered 243 patients with a mean pulmonary artery pressure higher than 25 mmHg confirmed from 1993 to September 2013. Patients were divided into two groups: one with a median annual income of 30,000 to 70,000 and the other with a median annual income higher than 70,000.
As a result, the team found that as median income decreased, the higher disease severity was at the time of first evaluation. With this data, researchers concluded that the possible disparity of healthcare accessability issues between a cohort of pulmonary hypertension patients belonging to two different socioeconomic groups.
“These results add to a large body of evidence showing that socioeconomic status affects access to health care and the health of individuals,” said Dr. Cardenas-Garcia.
Study limitations included the small study sample, which was from one pulmonary hypertension clinic in greater New York City. To address these issues, Dr. Cardenas-Garcia’s group is currently conducting a multicenter study in order to verify these initial findings. In addition, the team calls on the importance of further studies, to confirm the association of lower income and severity of pulmonary hypertension.
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