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Med Care. 1995 Jun;33(6):625-42.

Variations in the utilization of coronary angiography for elderly patients with an acute myocardial infarction. An analysis using hierarchical logistic regression.

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  • 1Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, USA.


This article reports a study of variations in the utilization of angiography for Medicare recipients who had an acute myocardial infarction. The study cohort consisted of 1987 Medicare beneficiaries who had a recent acute myocardial infarction. Variations were examined from three perspectives: patient characteristics, regional practice patterns, and on-site availability of the procedure. Factors associated with variation within and among states were incorporated into the analysis using hierarchical logistic regression models. The probability of angiography during the first 90 days after an acute myocardial infarction was estimated as a function of patient age, gender, race, and comorbidity for patients in 51 states (including the District of Columbia). Interstate differences were examined in relation to geographic region and on-site availability of angiography. Observed rates of angiography ranged between 13.8% and 38.3% (median, 24.7%). Variation was nearly threefold based on estimated state probabilities of angiography for a patient with characteristics set at the national average. Observed and estimated rates were lower in northeastern states than in other parts of the United States. States with more extensive onsite availability of angiography tended to have higher angiography rates after adjusting for patient characteristics and geographic region. Adjusted angiography rates were on average higher for younger patients, males, and nonblacks. There was substantial interstate variation in race differences, with states in the Southeast generally having the largest differences. The adjusted black-to-nonblack odds ratio ranged from a low of 0.41 to a high of 0.94. Interstate variation in age and gender differences was moderate. The work reported in this article illustrates the potential of hierarchical regression modeling as a framework for the analysis of variations and some methodologic issues connected with its implementation. Our results show that large variations in the utilization of procedures can exist, despite uniform insurance coverage and a relatively homogeneous patient cohort. Aggressive use of angiography was highly variable across states as was the degree of access to the procedure for blacks and nonblacks. The state rate of on-site availability of angiography facilities was an important predictor of utilization. Increased on-site availability of angiography, however, was not associated with a reduction of differences in access to the procedure.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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