Background Ethnic variation in health outcomes and in utilisation of health services has been observed worldwide. Quantifying and understanding this variation is essential to identify the health needs of ethnically diverse population. As many ethnic minority populations in the Netherlands, and elsewhere, are ageing the burden of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is increasingly becoming important. Therefore, one major health task is the routine collection and production of ethnically disaggregated, national-level data on incidence of morbidity and mortality from CVD.
Methods Linkage methods were used to determine nationwide differences in short-term and long-term risk of death in patients hospitalised for the first time for various CVD by country of birth.
Results Lower survival after a first CVD event in ethnic minority groups than in native Dutch was observed after linkage of nationwide registers (Population Register (PR)* Hospital Discharge Register (HDR)* Cause of Death Register (CDR)). Evidence from the USA suggests that these differences may (partly) be explained by differences in specialised care between ethnic minority groups and their White counterparts. Our ongoing is currently using linkage methods to assess role of healthcare use on CVD outcomes in ethnic minority CVD patients and native Dutch CVD patients. In addition, specific (healthcare) factors that may contribute to the ethnic inequalities in the risk of (non-) fatal CVD events will be determined.
Conclusion Linkage methods provide huge opportunities for understanding ethnic inequalities in CVD.
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