Neighbourhood socioeconomics status predicts non-cardiovascular mortality in cardiac patients with access to universal health care

Claire L. Heslop*, Gregory E. Miller, John S. Hill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Although the Canadian health care system provides essential services to all residents, evidence suggests that socioeconomic gradients in disease outcomes still persist. The main objective of our study was to investigate whether mortality, from cardiovascular disease or other causes, varies by neighbourhood socioeconomic gradients in patients accessing the healthcare system for cardiovascular disease management. Methods and Findings: A cohort of 485 patients with angiographic evidence of coronary artery disease (CAD) and neighbourhood socioeconomic status information was followed for 13.3 years. Survival analyses were completed with adjustment for potentially confounding risk factors. There were 64 cases of cardiovascular mortality and 66 deaths from non-cardiovascular chronic diseases. No socioeconomic differentials in cardiovascular mortality were observed. However, lower neighbourhood employment, education, and median family income did predict an increased risk of mortality from non-cardiovascular chronic diseases. For each quintile decrease in neighbourhood socioeconomic status, noncardiovascular mortality risk rose by 21-30%. Covariate-adjusted hazard ratios (95% confidence interval) for noncardiovascular mortality were 1.21 (1.02-1.42), 1.21 (1.01-1.46), and 1.30 (1.06-1.60), for each quintile decrease in neighbourhood education, employment, and income, respectively. These patterns were primarily attributable to mortality from cancer. Estimated risks for mortality from cancer rose by 42% and 62% for each one quintile decrease in neighbourhood median income and employment rate, respectively. Although only baseline clinical information was collected and patient-level socioeconomic data were not available, our results suggest that environmental socioeconomic factors have a significant impact on CAD patient survival. Conclusions: Despite public health care access, CAD patients who reside in lower-socioeconomic neighbourhoods show increased vulnerability to non-cardiovascular chronic disease mortality, particularly in the domain of cancer. These findings prompt further research exploring mechanisms of neighbourhood effects on health, and ways they may be ameliorated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere4120
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 7 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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