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Approaches to comparing the impact of socioeconomic disadvantage on acute myocardial infarction care within and across countries: a Scoping review.

BACKGROUND: Understanding how cardiovascular disease treatment and outcomes differ for socioeconomically disadvantaged patients across countries may reveal insights into the impact of countries' policy initiatives on health equity. However, methods of undertaking these studies are poorly characterized.

METHODS: We performed a scoping review to identify studies describing between-country comparisons of socioeconomic inequalities in the care of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). We sought to determine the extent to which such comparisons have been conducted, the methodologies used, and outcomes assessed. We searched Medline from January 1, 2013-September 30, 2023 for peer-reviewed English-language publications. Studies were included if they stratified patients by a measure of socioeconomic disadvantage (e.g., race, ethnicity, income, education, occupation, immigrant status, etc.) and made comparisons between two or more countries.

RESULTS: Our search yielded 4861 articles focused on patients with AMI of which 7 met our inclusion criteria. Common individual-level proxies for disadvantage were self-reported income or education. In contrast, we found no cross-country comparisons focused on other measures of disadvantage such as race and ethnicity. There was marked heterogeneity in methods and thresholds used to define socioeconomic disadvantage at the individual level. All included studies found that patients with higher income and higher educational attainment had improved AMI outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: Between-country comparisons of socioeconomic disparities in AMI outcomes are scarce and heterogenous, but all identified studies relied on metrics of disadvantage including income and education that could be uniformly measured across countries. We found no articles addressing other types of inequities, likely owing to significant methodological challenges.

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