Algorithms to Assess Stroke Risk are Markedly Worse for Black Americans

By Stephanie Lopez

Published January 24, 2023 | Duke Health News

DURHAM N.C. – Current medical standards for accessing stroke risk perform worse for Black Americans than they do for white Americans, potentially creating a self-perpetuating driver of health inequities. 

study, led by Duke Health researchers and appearing online Jan. 24 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, evaluated various existing algorithms and two methods of artificial intelligence assessment that are aimed at predicting a person’s risk of stroke within the next 10 years. 

The study found that all algorithms were worse at stratifying the risk for people who are Black than people who are white, regardless of the person’s gender. The implications are at the individual and population levels: people at high risk of stroke might not receive treatment, and those at low or no risk are unnecessarily treated.

“We need to improve data collection procedures and expand the pool of risk factors for stroke to close the performance gap of algorithms between Black and white adults,” said Michael Pencina, Ph.D., corresponding author of the study, professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics and director of AI Health at Duke University School of Medicine.

Read more on the Duke Health website