Access to Cardiovascular Care for Indigenous Peoples in Canada: A Rapid Review

Elsevier, CJC Open, Volume 4, September 2022
Vervoort D., Kimmaliardjuk D.M., Ross H.J., Fremes S.E., Ouzounian M., Mashford-Pringle A.

Indigenous peoples in Canada are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease compared to non-Indigenous people. Contributing factors include historical oppression, racism, healthcare biases, and disparities in terms of the social determinants of health. Access to and inequity in cardiovascular care for Indigenous peoples in Canada remain poorly studied and understood. A rapid review of the literature was performed using the PubMed/MEDLINE, Web of Science, and Indigenous Studies Portal (iPortal) databases to identify articles describing access to cardiovascular care for Indigenous peoples in Canada between 2002 and 2021. Included articles were presented narratively in the context of delays in seeking, reaching, or receiving care, or as disparities in cardiovascular outcomes, and were assessed for their successful engagement in indigenous health research using a preexisting framework. Current research suggests that gaps most prominently present as delays in receiving care and as poorer long-term outcomes. The literature is concentrated in Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario, as well as among First Nations people, and is largely rooted in a biomedical worldview. Additional community-driven research is required to better elucidate the gaps in access to holistic cardiovascular care for Indigenous peoples in Canada. Healthcare professionals, researchers, and policymakers should reflect further upon their actions and privilege, educate themselves about historical facts and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, tackle prevailing disparities and systemic barriers in the healthcare systems, and develop culturally safe and ethically appropriate healthcare interventions to improve the health of all Indigenous peoples in Canada.