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Congest Heart Fail. 2004 Jan-Feb;10(1):15-8; quiz 21-2.

The natural history, epidemiology, and prognosis of heart failure in African Americans.

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University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.


Heart failure is more common in African Americans and appears to be of worse severity. At the time of diagnosis, left ventricular function is more severely impaired and the clinical class is more advanced. The strongest risk factor for heart failure in African Americans appears to be hypertension, which is both more prevalent and more pathologic in African Americans. It is likely that heart failure represents an important end organ effect of hypertension. When affected by heart failure, African Americans experience a greater rate of hospitalization and may be exposed to a higher mortality risk as well. Genomic medicine has yielded a number of candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms that might contribute to the excess pathogenicity of heart failure in African Americans, but much more work needs to be done in larger cohorts. Effective therapy of heart failure must start with the recognition of the different manifestations of heart failure in African Americans. An increased awareness of the risk of hypertension followed by early and effective intervention may reduce the risk of heart failure in this population.

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