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Embolism stalks Black moms with lethal bias

Kimberly Seals Allers Editorial Director | , Black Maternal Health | 5/27/2011, 3:54 p.m.

"We definitely have to question the role of race in this disparity," Bridges said. "My work with predominantly women of color shows these women receive lower quality care even if you control for class and insurance type...When there aren't any calls to action or dramatic efforts are not being made to address this preventable death, we have to query whether the lack of action is related to who is be-ing affected." "Pregnancy is already a hyper-coagulated state,"said Dr. Tamara Magloire, director of ambulatory obstetrics and gynecology at Jamaica Hospital in Queens, N.Y."Theremayalsobein- herited genetic conditions or pre-existing health conditions that could make a woman more likely to have blood clots."

Magloire says there's no obvious genetic disposition for the higher rate among Black women.

"Some of it could be prenatal care, coming in late or some of the medical institutions not having protocols to identify patients who are at risk. Obesity and otherhealth conditions can predispose these women to having a C-section, which is a setup to be more likely to have venous thrombosis," she said. Physicians should be doing a better job of identifying patients who are at risk and using therapies that decrease the risks, Magloire added. "The interventions work."

She hopes patients and consumers bring more attention to the issue.

"Within medicine, there is more attention now than a few years ago. But it's the consumers who can bring about more interest. I don't think the average woman knows their risk of dying from embolism," Magloire said.