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MU study finds racial inequality within heart transplant process

April 8, 2021 A new study from the University of Missouri found that Black patients with advanced heart failure were more likely to receive a left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, later in their disease progression compared to white patients, ultimately resulting in worse health outcomes. Adrianne Frech, an associate professor in the MU School of Health Professions, is a medical sociologist interested in addressing inequalities within the health care system. She was curious if race affected a patient’s ability to access newer versions of LVADs, which are implanted into the chest of a patient with advanced heart failure to help pump blood throughout the body. In her recent study, Frech and her coauthors analyzed data from the United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, spanning from 1999 to 2014 for patients who received a LVAD as a temporary ‘bridge’ solution to their heart failure while they were on the...

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