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J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2012 Oct;21(7):600-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2011.02.002. Epub 2011 Mar 16.

Comparing the use of diagnostic imaging and receipt of carotid endarterectomy in elderly black and white stroke patients.

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Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8034, USA.



Previous studies show that black patients undergo carotid endarterectomy (CEA) less frequently than white patients. Diagnostic imaging is necessary to determine whether a patient is a candidate for the operation. We determined whether there were differences in the use of diagnostic carotid imaging and the frequency of CEA between elderly black and white ischemic stroke patients.


Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries with discharge diagnoses of ischemic stroke (International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision codes 433, 434, and 436) were randomly selected for inclusion in the National Stroke Project 1998-1999, 2000-2001. Receipt of at least one type of carotid imaging study was compared for black and white patients. Binomial logistic regression models were used to evaluate the associations between race and receipt of carotid imaging and CEA with adjustment for demographics, degree of carotid artery stenosis, and other clinical covariates.


Among 19,639 stroke patients (1974 black, 17,655 white), 69.6% received at least 1 diagnostic carotid imaging test (blacks 68.4%; whites 69.7%; P = .233). After risk adjustment, blacks were less likely to receive carotid imaging (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.87; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.78-0.97). There was no relationship between race and the receipt of CEA after adjustment for degree of carotid stenosis and other covariates (adjusted OR 1.14; 95% CI 0.66-1.96).


Black ischemic stroke patients were less likely to receive diagnostic carotid imaging than white patients, although the difference was small and only significant after risk adjustment. There was no difference in the proportion having CEA after adjustment for degree of carotid artery stenosis and other clinical factors.

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