Among Medicare enrollees, the rate of hospitalization for heart failure is higher among Blacks and Hispanics than among other ethnic groups, according to researchers in Atlanta and Miami.

“Little is known about racial or ethnic differences in hospitalizations for heart failure, the most common hospital diagnosis for Medicare enrollees,” Dr. Janet B. Croft, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and colleagues write in the American Heart Journal.

Using data from the Medicare Provider Analysis Record (1990 to 2000), the team found the overall rate of heart failure hospitalizations increased from 20.3 per 1000 Medicare enrollees in 1990 to 22.1 per 1000 in 2000.

The rate was greater among men than women, 24.4 versus 20.7 per 1000 enrollees, respectively.

Compared with white enrollees, Black enrollees had a 50 percent increased risk of heart failure hospitalization and Hispanic enrollees had a 20 percent increased risk. The likelihood of hospitalization for heart failure was 50 percent less likely among Asian enrollees.