Hispanic stroke patients are less likely to receive clot-busting drugs

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Medications improve quality of life.

Hispanic stroke patients along the country’s border may not receive important medications they need. (Shutterstock)

Hispanic patients admitted to hospitals in the border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas are less likely than non-Hispanic white patients to receive important clot-busting medications, according to research findings presented at this year’s American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference.

Strokes are one of the leading causes of death for Hispanics in the United States, though mortality rates for Hispanics as a result of this medical emergency are lower than for non-Hispanic whites.

According to the Office of Minority Health, overall, Hispanics have a similar rate of stroke compared to non-Hispanics whites; however, Hispanic women are 20 percent more likely to have a stroke than non-Hispanic white women.

Despite the similar stroke risks for Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics traditionally experience more stroke risk factors than other ethnicities.

The American Stroke Association reports that Hispanics do not only have strokes at younger ages, they are more likely to have diabetes, drink alcohol in excess and suffer from obesity. Hispanics are also the least likely group to have health insurance, a complicating factor when it comes to treating conditions that contribute to stroke risk.

Now, the research from The American Stroke Association presented last week indicates there may be a health disparity when it comes to the administration of important stroke medications.

According to the presentation, Hispanics living in states along the border are less likely to receive clot-busting medications and are therefore more likely to die compared to other groups.

Of the nearly 35,000 Hispanic stroke patients, 21,130 were admitted in border states and 13,774 in non-border states.

Of those, only 4.8 percent of Hispanic patients in border state hospitals received clot-busting drugs compared to 5.7 percent of non-Hispanic patients in the same hospital setting.

Hispanic stroke patients were 30 percent more likely than non-Hispanics to die in border state hospitals. On the other hand, experts did not find a significant difference in death rates between Hispanic and non-Hispanic stroke patients in non-border state hospitals.

While the study found there was less clot medication usage in Hispanics treated in border states, it did not investigate the reason for the disparity. Study authors suggested at the presentation that more research be done to find out why Hispanic numbers were lower in this region of the country.

In the past, research has suggested language barriers, insurance barriers, cultural values, and other hurdles often keep Hispanics from receiving the same quality of care and services non-Hispanics whites are accustomed to.

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