High rates of death from cardiovascular disease are seen in individuals from underserved racial and ethnic groups. Patient education regarding the role of genetics in cardiovascular disease should benefit from a better understanding of patients’ trust in medical experts and familiarity with genome sequencing. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between patients’ faith in medical professionals and their understanding of genome sequencing and to identify any racial or ethnic disparities in this relationship. Patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, defined as left ventricular systolic dysfunction and left ventricular enlargement after eliminating common clinical explanations, were included in this cross-sectional research undertaken by a consortium of 25 US heart failure programs. From June 7th, 2016 through March 15th, 2020, applications were accepted.
Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black, and non-Hispanic White participants’ percentile distributions, averages, and correlations between their understanding of genome sequencing and their belief in scientific studies (hereafter referred to as White). The average (SD) age of the 1,121 participants was 51.6 years; 8.5% were Hispanic, 41.4% were African-American; and 43.4% were female. It was shown that Hispanic and Black individuals had a lower degree of genome-sequencing expertise than White participants, even after controlling for site effects (mean score difference, −2.6; 95% CI, −3.9 to −1.2 and mean score difference, −2.9; 95% CI, −3.6 to −2.2, respectively). Trust in researchers was lowest among Black participants (mean score: 27.7), next among Hispanic participants (mean score: 29.4), and finally among White participants (mean score, 33.9).
After considering factors such as enrollment age, duration of dilated cardiomyopathy, enrollment year, and health condition, racial and ethnic inequalities persisted. Within many racial and cultural groupings trust was positively correlated with genomic sequencing literacy within many racial and cultural groupings. Significant racial and cultural disparities in genome-sequencing knowledge and confidence in medical experts were found in this cross-sectional investigation of people with dilated cardiomyopathy. This study’s results may help guide future efforts to increase people’s comfort with and reliance on genetic information.