"Racial Differences in Waitlist Mortality in Children Listed for Heart Transplant in the United States in the Current Era," Circulation: The study, led by Tajinder Singh of Children's Hospital of Boston, assesses differences in mortality rates of children awaiting a heart transplant in the U.S. between 1999 and 2006, using data from the United Network of Organ Sharing (Singh et al., Circulation, October 2008). Of the 3,299 children on a heart transplant wait list during that period, 58% were white, 20% were black, 16% were Hispanic, 3% were Asian and the remaining 3% were listed as other. The mortality rate for children awaiting heart transplants was 14% for white children, 19% for blacks, 21% for Hispanics and 27% for others. After accounting for various factors, including children's age and health status, researchers found that black children had a 60% greater chance of dying while on the list, Hispanics had a 50% higher mortality rate and Asians and others had a 100% to 130% greater chance of dying. Socioeconomic variables accounted for one-third of the difference in blacks and 20% of the increased risk in Hispanics. The study did not investigate the reasons for the disparities but recommended further study into the issue (American Heart Association release, 11/11).

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