Differences in cardiovascular mortality risk among African Americans in the Minnesota heart survey: 1985-2015 vs the atherosclerosis risk in communities study cohort: 1987-2015

Kristen M. George, Aaron R Folsom, Lyn M. Steffen, Lynne E. Wagenknecht, Thomas H. Mosley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Geographic differences in cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality among African Americans (AAs) are well-established, but not well-characterized. Using the Minnesota Heart Survey (MHS) and Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, we aimed to assess whether CVD risk factors drive geographic disparities in CVD mortality among AAs. ARIC risk factors were measured be-tween1987-1989 from a population-based sample of AAs, aged 45 to 64 years, living in Jackson, MS and Forsyth County, NC. Similar measures were made at MHS baseline, 1985, in AAs from Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. CVD mortality was identified using ICD codes for underlying cause of death. We compared MHS and ARIC on CVD death rates using Poisson regression, risk factor prevalences, and hazard ratios using Cox regression. After CVD risk factor adjustment, AA men in MHS had 3.4 (95% CI: 2.1, 4.7) CVD deaths per 1000 person-years vs 9.9 (95% CI: 8.7, 11.1) in ARIC. AA women in MHS had 2.7 (95% CI: 1.8, 3.6) CVD deaths per 1000 person-years vs 6.7 (95% CI: 6.0, 7.4) in ARIC. A 2-fold higher CVD mortality rate remained in ARIC vs MHS after additional adjustment for education and income. ARIC had higher total cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, and BMI, as well as less education and income than MHS. Risk factor hazard ratios of CVD death did not differ. The CVD death rate was lower in AAs in Minnesota (MHS) than AAs in the Southeast (ARIC). While our findings support maintaining low risk for CVD prevention, differences in CVD mortality reflect unidentified geographic variation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-52
Number of pages6
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Kristen M. George was supported by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Training Grant T32HL007779. The mortality follow-up of the Minnesota Heart Survey was supported by the J.B. Hawley Student Research Award for public health-oriented research projects at the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota. The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract nos. (HH-SN268201700001I, HHSN268201700002I, HHSN268201700003I, HHS- N268201700005I, HHSN268201700004I). The authors thank the staff and participants of the ARIC study for their important contributions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Ethnicity & Disease Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Disparities
  • Mortality
  • Race


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