Latinos with chest pain wait in ER about half an hour longer than others, study finds

According to a new study from the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Latinos who went to the emergency room to report chest pain had to wait about half an hour longer than people of other races or ethnicities to receive care.

The preliminary research will be presented Friday night at the American Heart Association’s 2022 Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Katiria Pintor Jimenez, an internal medicine resident at Morehouse, and five other researchers analyzed the 2020 medical records of more than 11,000 people who arrived in the emergency room at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta with chest pain.

Latinos reporting chest pain accounted for just under 5% of the records analyzed.

“Chest pain is basically a very alarming kind of complaint that patients present because it can come from the heart or the lungs,” Pintor Jimenez told NBC News. “It’s something that needs to be dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

A delay that can be “detrimental”

His research found that Latinos had to wait an average of 99 minutes to be processed. That’s nearly 40% more than non-Hispanics, who had to wait an average of 71 minutes.

Hispanics were also admitted to hospital slightly more often than people of all other races or ethnicities. Each time, they had to wait an average of about 86 minutes, almost twice as long as the others.

These delays could adversely affect the overall outcome and well-being of Latino patients, Pintor Jimenez said.

“If we delay a diagnosis or if we delay the treatment or the care of the patient, it can harm their health,” she said, adding that the patient’s experiences with health care greatly determine the likelihood that he will seek it out or provide appropriate care. of any pre-existing conditions.

Latinos were, on average, younger and had lower blood pressure than everyone else treated for chest pain in the ER — including whites, blacks and Asians, the study found. Hispanic women were also 58% more likely to arrive at the ER reporting chest pain than Hispanic men.

Researchers identified immigration status, lack of confidence, language barriers, and a lack of Hispanic healthcare professionals who may be more culturally sensitive and aware of the needs of Latino patients as factors that may contribute to delays. persistent, said Pintor Jimenez.

Their research also shows that Latinos were nearly three times more likely to be uninsured.

“Many of these factors leading to health inequity are rooted in structural racism, and it is important that we examine race and ethnicity across the continuum of health care, particularly in emergency departments to emergency care,” Dr. Felipe Lobelo, a member of the American Heart Association’s Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health, said in a statement.

Latinos have historically been overrepresented in the uninsured population nationally. The uninsured rate among Latinos (20%) is more than double that among non-Latino whites (8%), according to recent data from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Even though Latinos are more likely to be in the workforce than non-Latinos, they are less likely to have health insurance through employment and more likely to enroll in Medicaid coverage, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

“This is a national situation,” said Pintor Jimenez, adding that she was seeking to “raise awareness” with her study and to call on health professionals and “all those who defend minority communities” to create solutions.

Lobelo, who is also an associate professor at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta, said the study “further confirms the disparities that require urgent changes in how health care systems deliver services.” care, with an emphasis on people from diverse racial and ethnic groups.”

Pintor Jimenez said his team is implementing training programs for medical residents to confirm that physician-led interventions can increase awareness and help eliminate persistent racial and ethnic disparities in health care. health affecting Latinos.

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