Heart Failure Risk Higher Among the Poor, South Asians


A gap in cardiovascular health care among the poor and South Asians has been revealed in a new study conducted in the United Kingdom. Research shows that diagnosis of heart failure is four times greater among poor populations and twice as high among South Asians.

Poor communities experience more heart failure and death

At the University of Leicester, Dr. Hanna Blackledge, in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, examined heart failure in different socioeconomic and ethnic communities and uncovered gaps in cardiovascular health in these environments. She found a threefold increase in the number of hospitalizations for heart failure over the last twenty years in a multi-ethnic population, with the poorest individuals experiencing a greater proportion of disease and death.

Blackledge noted that her investigation “was the first comprehensive study of heart failure outcomes based on long-term observation of an unselected population.” It also was the first detailed analysis of heart failure and its risk factors among South Asians in the United Kingdom.


The British Heart Foundation notes that there are about 68,000 new cases of heart failure in the United Kingdom each year, and that hospital admissions for the disease are projected to increase by 50 percent over the next 25 years. Total prevalence of heart failure in the United Kingdom is estimated to be 707,000 in people age 45 and older.

According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, approximately 5.7 million people in the United States have heart failure, and about 300,000 die each year from the disease. Although there is no cure for heart failure, treatment, which includes medications and lifestyle changes, can help individuals live longer, healthier lives. However, prognosis is still poor, with about 40 percent of patients dying within one year of diagnosis.

Blackledge’s study points out the heart failure risks among the poor and those associated with ethnicity, as illustrated in this case by the increase among South Asians. Despite the existence of inequality between different populations, she emphasizes that timely diagnosis and treatment can restore balance to differences in survival.

American Heart Association
Leicester University press release
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute