Most studies of sex and race differences after acute myocardial infarction (AMI) have not taken into account differences in life expectancy in the general population. Years of potential life lost (YPLLs) is a metric that takes into account the burden of disease and can be compared by sex and race.
We sought to determine sex and race differences in long-term survival after AMI using life expectancy and YPLL to account for differences in population-based life expectancy.
Using data from the Cooperative Cardiovascular Project, a prospective cohort study of Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for AMI between 1994–1995 (n = 146,743), we calculated life expectancy and YPLLs using Cox proportional hazards regression with extrapolation using exponential models.
Of the 146,743 patients with AMI, 48.1% were women and 6.4% were black; the average age was 75.9 years. Post-AMI life expectancy estimates were similar for men and women of the same race but lower for black patients than white patients. On average, women lost 10.5% (SE 0.3%) more of their expected life than men, and black patients lost 6.2% (SE 0.6%) more of their expected life than white patients. After adjustment, women still lost an average of 7.8% (0.3%) more of their expected life than men, but black race became associated with a survival advantage, suggesting that racial differences in YPLLs were largely explained by differences in clinical presentation and treatment between black and white patients.