Background: There are few reports describing the combined influence of the race and sex of a patient on the use of reperfusion therapy for acute myocardial infarction.
Methods: To determine the relation of race and sex to the receipt of reperfusion therapy for myocardial infarction in the United States, we reviewed the medical records of 234,769 Medicare patients with myocardial infarction. From these records we identified 26,575 white or black patients who met strict eligibility criteria for reperfusion therapy. We then performed bivariate and multivariate analyses of prevalence ratios to determine predictors of the use of reperfusion therapy in four subgroups of patients categorized according to race and sex: white men, white women, black men, and black women.
Results: Among eligible patients, white men received reperfusion therapy with the highest frequency (59 percent), followed by white women (56 percent), black men (50 percent), and black women (44 percent). After adjustment for differences in demographic and clinical characteristics, white women were as likely as white men to receive reperfusion therapy (prevalence ratio, 1.00; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.98 to 1.03). Likewise, black women were as likely as black men to receive reperfusion therapy (prevalence ratio, 1.00; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.89 to 1.13). However, black women were significantly less likely to receive reperfusion therapy than white men (prevalence ratio, 0.90; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.82 to 0.98), as were black men (prevalence ratio, 0.85; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.78 to 0.93).
Conclusions: After adjustment for differences in clinical and demographic characteristics and clinical presentation, differences according to sex in the use of reperfusion therapy are minimal. However, blacks, regardless of sex, are significantly less likely than whites to receive this potentially lifesaving therapy.