(HealthDay News) — Black men have higher postoperative mortality than White men, White women, and Black women, according to a study published online in The BMJ.

Dan P. Ly, MD, PhD, from the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving 1,868,036 Black and White Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 to 99 years undergoing 1 of 8 common surgeries to assess inequities in mortality by race and sex.

The researchers found that overall postoperative mortality was higher in Black men than in White men, White women, and Black women (adjusted mortality rate, 3.05% versus 2.69, 2.38, and 2.18%, respectively), after adjustment for potential confounding variables. For elective surgeries, a similar pattern was found, with higher adjusted mortality for Black men than White men, White women, and Black women (1.30% vs 0.85%, 0.82%, and 0.79%, respectively). For nonelective surgeries, no difference was seen in mortality for Black men and White men (6.69% vs 7.03%), although lower mortality was seen for Black women and White women (6.12% and 5.29%, respectively). These differences were first observed within 7 days of surgery and persisted for up to 60 days.

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“Further research is needed to understand better the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative factors contributing to this higher mortality rate among Black men after elective surgery,” the authors write.

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