Socially deprived individuals are 44% more likely to develop heart failure but 23% less likely to see their general practitioner on a regular basis compared with affluent patients, finds new research available on bmj.com
Using data from a large health project in Scotland, researchers examined the influence of social and economic deprivation on the diagnosis and treatment of 2,186 adults with heart failure.
They found that the incidence of heart failure significantly increased with increasing social deprivation. Socioeconomically deprived patients were 44% more likely to develop heart failure than affluent patients. In contrast, patients in the most deprived groups had 23% fewer follow up visits each year with their general practitioner.
Contrary to speculation, prescribed treatment did not differ across social or economic gradients.
Once the mechanisms behind these socioeconomic gradients are better understood, programmes can be devised for optimal outcomes of all patients, irrespective of social class, conclude the authors.
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