Hopkins study finds racial differences in heart function


March 27, 2007|By Chris Emery | Chris Emery,Sun Reporter

Race might help determine a person's risk of heart failure, according to a study by Johns Hopkins researchers, who found that blacks had the weakest heart muscle among racial groups studied.

Chinese-American participants had the greatest pumping strength, researchers found in what they said is the first large-scale analysis of racial differences in heart function. Caucasians and Hispanics had slightly weaker heart muscle contractions.

The study, released yesterday at an American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans, measured heart-muscle strength in nearly 7,000 men and woman between the ages of 45 and 84. The results suggest that African-Americans - even those in good health - should be vigilant.

"Weaker muscles make you more at risk for sudden death and heart failure," said Dr. Veronica Fernandes, the study's lead author. "So controlling risk factors like weight, smoking, diabetes and hypertensive disease is important."

Chris Emery

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