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Two articles in this issue report data relating to sex and racial differences in the use of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs). Curtis and colleaguesArticle analyzed national Medicare patient data (1991-2005) and found that women were significantly less likely than men to receive ICD therapy for either primary or secondary prevention of sudden cardiac death. In the second article, Hernandez and colleaguesArticle analyzed 2005-2007 data collected in a voluntary heart failure quality improvement initiative and found that fewer than 40% of eligible patients received ICD therapy. Women and black patients were significantly less likely than white men to receive an ICD. In an editorial, RedbergArticle discusses possible reasons for sex and racial disparities in ICD use and implications for clinical decision making and patient outcomes.
This Week in JAMA . JAMA. 2007;298(13):1481. doi:10.1001/jama.298.13.1481
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