Use of cardiovascular procedures among black persons and white persons: a 7-year nationwide study in patients with renal disease

Ann Intern Med. 1999 Feb 2;130(3):173-82. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-130-3-199902020-00002.


Background: Black persons historically undergo fewer invasive cardiovascular procedures than white persons.

Objective: To determine whether acquisition of Medicare health insurance and comprehensive care for severe illness reduce ethnic disparity in use of cardiovascular procedures.

Design: 7-year longitudinal analyses in a cohort from the United States Renal Data System.

Setting: Health care institutions in the United States.

Patients: Nationwide random sample of 4987 adult black and white patients with incident end-stage renal disease (ESRD) from 303 dialysis facilities in 1986 to 1987.

Measurements: Medical history and service use records, physical examination, and laboratory data. Main outcome measures were receipt of a coronary catheterization or revascularization procedure before (baseline) and after (follow-up) development of ESRD and acquisition of Medicare, adjusted for clinical and socioeconomic variables.

Results: At baseline, 9.9% of white patients and 2.8% of black patients had had a cardiac procedure; the odds were almost three times greater in white than in black patients (adjusted odds ratio, 2.92 [95% CI, 2.04 to 4.18]). During follow-up, white patients were only 1.4 times more likely than black patients to have a procedure (adjusted relative risk, 1.41 [CI, 1.13 to 1.77]); rates were 7.8% for white persons and 8.5% for black persons. In patients with Medicare coverage before development of ESRD, the initial three-fold difference in procedure use was eliminated over follow-up (odds ratio, 1.05 [CI, 0.56 to 1.60]). For procedures after hospital admission for myocardial infarction or coronary disease, no difference between ethnic groups was seen during follow-up (relative risk, 1.12 [CI, 0.68 to 1.85]).

Conclusions: Differences between ethnic groups in use of cardiovascular procedures narrowed markedly once a serious illness (ESRD) developed and adequate insurance coverage was ensured; the disparity was eliminated in patients with previous Medicare insurance or a stronger indication for a procedure. These findings suggest that almost equal access to care is attainable by combining insurance with delivery of comprehensive, clinically appropriate care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans* / statistics & numerical data
  • Angioplasty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cardiac Catheterization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / statistics & numerical data*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Disease Progression
  • European Continental Ancestry Group* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Revascularization
  • Socioeconomic Factors