Black and Spanish coronavirus patients had lung damage 1.5 times worse than attacks from the infection on white Americans, X-rays show
- Researchers looked at chest X-rays of 326 patients hospitalized with coronavirus between March 27 and April 10
- Patients received mRALE scores based on how severely the disease had affected their lungs
- White patients had a median score of 4.2, but minority patients had a score of 6.1 – approximately 1.5 times worse
- The team says this is likely due to the limited English language skills of Spanish patients in particular and waiting for medical attention
Minority patients hospitalized with the new coronavirus are more likely to have more severe cases of the disease, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that chest X-rays of blacks and Hispanics showed more serious disease progression than whites – about 1.5 times worse.
Scans of colored patients were more likely to be opaque, which could result in fluid build-up, thickening of the connective tissue, or damage to the organs.
The Massachusetts General Hospital team believes this is due to the language barriers of minorities who may not understand all of the information circulated about COVID-19, as well as of minorities who are more likely to do essential jobs that put them at higher risk of the virus increase.
In a new study from Massachusetts General Hospital, coronavirus patients received mRALE scores based on how severely the disease had affected their lungs (see above)
White patients had a median score of 4.2, but minority patients had a score of 6.1 – about 1.5 times worse (above)
For the study, published in the journal Radiology, the team reviewed data from 326 patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19 between March 27 and April 10, 2020.
The clinic is located in Chelsea, a city 6.5 kilometers north of Boston, which is mainly home to a Spanish-speaking Latin American community.
Researchers looked at chest X-rays and gave them modified radiographic assessment of pulmonary edema (mRALE) scores.
mRALE measures the severity and density of opacity in the alveoli, the small air sacs of the lungs, which are either filled with fluid, inflamed or scarred.
Minority patients had much higher mRALE scores with a median of 6.1, while white patients had a median score of 4.2.
In addition, no white patient scored higher than 16, but non-white patients scored 21.
Researchers say there are a number of factors that influenced the fact that more serious lung disease appeared on the chest X-rays of non-white patients.
This includes a higher prevalence of pre-existing conditions and a limited understanding of the English language.
“Limited English proficiency is an additional socio-economic factor that really influences many aspects of access to care,” said co-author Dr. Efren Flores, a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“When we first learned how the disease spread, all of this rapidly evolving information came out that was not available in languages other than English.
“The backlog in the availability of useful health information to non-English speaking individuals was critical for many patients attempting to navigate a complex medical system with a virus disease that is so aggressive.”
Flores also said that many non-white patients were also waiting for medical help because of supposedly essential jobs.
“Many of these patients postpone their care because they are considered essential workers and they do not have much sick leave, but it is also difficult for them to leave because they live on a weekly salary and have other family members,” he said. said.
It was not uncommon for us to go into the medical record while interpreting their exams and saw many of them working in supermarkets or warehouses. ‘
The team says the findings could help radiologists develop algorithms to identify the most vulnerable populations so medical professionals can provide preventative care.
“We conducted this study not only to better understand these emerging inequalities, but also to discover how we can use this information to work together to find a better path to equality,” said Flores.