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Minorities have poorer results, higher rates of inappropriate surgery to prevent stroke
Date:8/25/2009

DALLAS Aug. 25, 2009 Minorities have poorer results and higher rates of unnecessary surgery from a common procedure used to remove plaque from inside the carotid artery, according to a UT Southwestern Medical Center doctor who is lead author of the study in the journal Stroke.

The multicenter study, available online and appearing in the July issue of the journal, found that higher rates of poor surgical outcomes for carotid endartectomy (CEA) a procedure performed to prevent stroke appeared to be due not only to elevated patient clinical risk in African-American and Hispanics, but also to the individual skill and experience of the doctor performing the operation.

"Identifying how various patient, physician and hospital-level factors may contribute to disparities has important implications for the design of clinical and health policy strategies for reducing them," said Dr. Ethan Halm, chief of the William T. and Gay F. Solomon Division of General Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern.

"To my knowledge this is the first study to examine the stepwise impact of patient, surgeon and hospital factors as a way of understanding racial/ethnic disparities in clinically confirmed outcomes of carotid artery surgery," he said.

Previous research has demonstrated that minority groups in the U.S. have higher rates of heart attack and stroke. For example, African-Americans have greater numbers and higher severity of strokes, accompanied by higher rates of recurrence or death within 30 days.

Yet Hispanics have not been well-studied as a subgroup, Dr. Halm said.

The researchers used data from the New York Carotid Artery Surgery (NYCAS) study to examine the medical outcomes of 9,093 Medicare patients who had undergone carotid endartectomy in New York state. Of the patients, 95.3 percent were Caucasian, 2.5 percent were African-American and 2.2 percent were Hispanic.

They found that the minorities had much
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Contact: Erin Prather Stafford
erin.pratherstafford@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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