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Blacks' Mortality Rate After Liver Surgery Is High

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Blacks have a mortality rate after liver surgery that is about twice as high as that of whites, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgery, Reuters Health reports.

For the study, lead authors Timothy Pawlik and Hari Nathan of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine analyzed hospital discharge data from the 1998 to 2005 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, which included 3,552 patients who underwent hepatectomy. Fifty-nine percent of the participants were white, 6% were black, 5% were Hispanic, 7% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 24% were classified as other or unknown.

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After adjusting for possible contributing factors such as insurance status and hospital caseload, researchers found that the mortality rate for blacks who died while still in the hospital after undergoing hepatectomy was 2.15 times higher than that of whites.

Pawlik said, "This finding is of special note because of the magnitude of the observed gap in outcomes." Nathan said the finding is important because liver surgery rates are increasing dramatically in the U.S. Nathan added that further research is needed to determine the reasons for the disparity and to develop a means for addressing it (Reuters Health, 9/18).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.