BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular disease is more prevalent in some ethnic groups than in others, as are risk factors stemming from cultural practices and values. Data on the health status of Asians and Pacific Islanders are scarce and sporadic, and data on the 2 groups are usually combined for analysis. OBJECTIVE: To determine ethnic and sex-related differences among white, Japanese, and Pacific Island subjects in cardiovascular risk factors and outcomes after coronary artery bypass graft surgery. METHODS: Data were collected from a random sample of 41 men and 19 women scheduled for nonemergent coronary artery bypass graft surgery: 19 white, 18 Japanese, and 23 Pacific Island/Hawaiian subjects. Subjects were interviewed about risk factors before surgery and were followed up for the first 20 hours after surgery. Problems that occurred during the remainder of the hospital stay were assessed by chart review. Instruments used included the Charlson Comorbidity Index, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II, and the Therapeutic Intervention Scoring System. RESULTS: Pacific Island and Japanese subjects differed significantly in their demographic and clinical characteristics. Pacific Islanders tended to have a more difficult postoperative course than did white subjects, whereas Japanese patients tended to have fewer problems and an easier postoperative course than other subjects. CONCLUSIONS: Further study of ethnic variations in risk factors and surgical outcomes, especially variations in comorbidities, age at the onset of signs and symptoms, and postoperative complications, is needed. Combining data obtained from Japanese and Pacific Island subjects for data analysis most likely will result in a loss of important information.

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