Background: Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) has been shown to decrease future ischemic stroke risk in selected patients. However, clinical trials did not examine the risk-benefit ratio for nonwhites, who have a greater ischemic stroke risk than whites. In general, few studies have examined the effects of race on CEA use and complications, and data on race and CEA readmission are lacking.
Methods: This study used administrative data for patients discharged from California hospitals between January 1 and December 31, 2000. Selection criteria of cases included: ICD-9 principal procedure code 38.12, principal diagnostic code 433 and diagnosis-related group 5. There were 8,080 white and 1196 nonwhite patients (228 blacks, 643 Hispanics, 325 Asians/Pacific Islanders) identified that underwent an elective and isolated CEA. For both groups, CEA rates were compared. Logistic regression was used to examine the independent effects of race on in-hospital death and stroke, as well as CEA readmission.
Results: Rates of CEA use were more than three times greater for whites than nonwhites, although nonwhites were more likely to have symptomatic disease. For all patients, the complication rate was 1.9%. However, the odds of in-hospital death and stroke were greater for nonwhites than whites, but after adjustment for patient and hospital factors, these differences were only significant for stroke (OR = 1.7, P = 0.013). For both outcomes, the final models had good predictive accuracy. Overall, CEA readmission risk was 7%, and no significant racial differences were observed (P = 0.110).
Conclusions: The data suggest that CEA is performed safely in California. However, nonwhites had lower rates of initial CEA use but higher rates of in-hospital death and stroke than whites. Racial differences in stroke risk persisted after adjustment for patient and hospital factors. Finally, this study found that despite significant racial disparities in initial CEA use, whites and nonwhites were similar in their CEA readmission rates. These findings may suggest that screening initiatives are lacking for nonwhites, which may increase their risk for poorer outcomes.