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The Métis population suffers from significantly greater risk of cardiovascular disease than the general Ontario population: ICES study


The Métis population is 25 to 77 per cent more likely to suffer from five common cardiovascular conditions than the general population in Ontario, according to new research conducted at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).

The researchers identified 12,550 eligible Métis persons using the Métis Nation of Ontario Citizenship Registry, aged 20 to 105 between April 2006 and March 2011 and compared them with the general Ontario population.

The study published in PLOS ONE examined the rates of acute coronary syndromes (diminished blood supply to the heart); congestive heart failure (heart isn’t pumping blood the way it should); stroke; atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat) and high blood pressure.

“Our study shows that the Métis population in Ontario has a higher burden of cardiovascular disease than the general population. New cases of acute coronary syndromes, stroke and atrial fibrillation are rising faster in the Métis population than in the rest of the population, and Métis with heart failure appear to have poor disease control,” says Dr. Clare Atzema, lead author and scientist at ICES.

One-third of all Aboriginal people in Canada are Métis, with approximately 452,000 people self-identifying in the 2011 Canadian National Household Survey. The Métis population is also one of the fastest growing populations in Canada, having doubled between 1996 and 2006.

The study found that the prevalence of cardiovascular disease is significantly higher in the Métis population compared to the rest of the general Ontario population. High blood pressure was the most prevalent cardiovascular condition in the Métis, affecting 35 per cent of the Métis population, which is 17 per cent higher than in the rest of the Ontario population. Acute coronary syndromes were 77 per cent higher among the Métis cohort compared to the rest of the Ontario population, while congestive heart failure, stroke, and irregular heartbeat were 40 per cent, 25 per cent, and 46 per cent higher, respectively, than in the rest of the Ontario population.

“We are seeing disturbingly high rates of all chronic diseases and modifiable risk factors in the Métis community. We know from our citizens that getting timely access to health services and supports is often a major challenge. At the MNO we are working hard with our government and other  partners to help ensure our citizens are able to link to the health supports and other essential services they need to address the unacceptably high rates of chronic disease we are seeing," said Gary Lipinski, President of the Métis Nation of Ontario.

“Targeted interventions in this at-risk group, including better delivery and coordination of primary and specialist care, might decrease the burden of these treatable diseases among Ontario’s Métis population,” says Atzema.

“Cardiovascular disease rates, outcomes and quality of care in Ontario Métis: a population-based cohort study,” was published in PLOS ONE.

Author block: Atzema CL, Khan S, Allard YE, Russell SJ, Lu H, Gravelle MR, Klein-Geltink J, Austin PC.

ICES is an independent, non-profit organization that uses population-based health information to produce knowledge on a broad range of healthcare issues. Our unbiased evidence provides measures of health system performance, a clearer understanding of the shifting healthcare needs of Ontarians, and a stimulus for discussion of practical solutions to optimize scarce resources. ICES knowledge is highly regarded in Canada and abroad, and is widely used by government, hospitals, planners, and practitioners to make decisions about care delivery and to develop policy.

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