Commentary - The Treatment of Heart Failure 
in African Americans

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  • Summary:

    Clyde W. Yancy, MD, Chief of Division of Cardiology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL comments on the discussion "Heart Failure Treatment: A Focus on Treatment in Black Patients" by Drs. Ferdinand, Leggett, Piña, and Smart. He asserts that the treatment of those affected with heart failure remains suboptimal, with gaps in care now extensively documented. He also notes that issues regarding race remain in the field of medicine, but that the study of African Americans with heart failure has yielded three important dynamics that should benefit medicine globally going forward: 1) it is likely that impaired nitric oxide bioavailability contributes to cardiovascular disease pathology and is an appropriate target for intervention; 2) hypertension does appear to be clearly related to heart failure with reduced ejection fraction; and 3) the study of African Americans with heart failure has made clearer the depth and extent of disparate care in the United States due to cultural disconnects between patients and providers. Dr. Yancy calls for providers to treat those with heart failure in an optimal evidence-based, guideline-driven manner, to identify and treat accordingly African Americans with heart failure, and to become more aware of their cultural insensitivities and make efforts to understand and adapt to the needs of all patients.

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