June 05, 2014
Maori too far down heart queue
An Auckland cardiologist says the way heart surgery waiting lists are managed fails Maori patients by ignoring their more serious disease states and worse outcomes.
Auckland City Hospital cardiology registrar Tom Wang presented his analysis of more than 800 coronary artery bypass grafting patients to the World Congress of Cardiology in Melbourne last month.
In a report on the New Zealand Doctor website, he said Maori and Pacific patients were four times as likely to die within two years of surgery than non-Maori.
Dr Wang says that’s ignored by the risk scoring system, so Maori and Pacific patients aren’t getting surgery early enough.
He says Maori should be over-represented in the numbers having surgery, but they are under-represented.
The Maori patients in the study were on average eight years younger than Pakeha patients, and they had worse baseline characteristics such as heart failure, shortness of breath, and renal failure, which all led to worse outcomes.
Factors may include late presentation to primary care, late referral for investigation and late attendance after having a heart attack.
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