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Analysis suggests racial and ethnic disparities in stroke care

A new analysis suggests racial and ethnic minorities are not getting equal treatment when it comes to strokes.

At the request of the American Heart Association, a group of stroke experts led by Saint Louis University neurologist Dr. Salvador Cruz-Flores examined the scientific literature for racial and ethnic disparities in stroke care.

Cruz-Flores says they found that minorities have more risk factors for stroke, like high blood pressure and diabetes, and are less aware of their health status. They also have less access to healthcare.

"There are some studies actually that may allude to the possibility of perceived or true presence of even bias within the system," Cruz-Flores said.

Cruz-Flores says that among other factors, low income, lack of health insurance, and concern about immigration status may also limit minorities' access to stroke care.

He considers the findings a call to action.

“There are disparities and differences in the distribution of diseases and in the care that these patients receive. And that is important to number one, acknowledge them, so we can actually see it as a problem, and then establish programs that can help reduce the gap that exists, and these disparities.”

The review is published online in Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association.