The cardiac access longitudinal study. A study of access to invasive cardiology among African American and white patients

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2003 Apr 2;41(7):1159-66. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(03)00042-1.


Objectives: We sought to identify factors contributing to racial disparity in the receipt of coronary angiography (CA).

Background: Numerous studies have demonstrated that African American patients are less likely to receive needed diagnostic and therapeutic coronary procedures than white patients. This report summarizes the methods and findings of a study linking medical records with patient and physician interviews to address racial disparities in the utilization of CA.

Methods: This is a retrospective, cross-sectional study conducted in three urban hospitals in Maryland. A total of 9,275 medical records were reviewed, representing all 7,058 cardiac patients admitted in a two-year period. We identified 2,623 patients who, according to American College of Cardiology guidelines, were candidates for receiving CA. A total of 1,669 patients (721 African Americans and 948 whites) and 74% of their physicians were successfully interviewed. Multivariate and hierarchical multivariate logistic regression were used to construct a model of receipt of CA within one year of the hospitalization.

Results: The unadjusted odds of white patients receiving CA was three times greater than the odds for African American patients (odds ratio [OR] 3.0, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.4 to 3.7). Adjusting for patients' clinical and social characteristics resulted in a 13% reduction in the OR for race. Adjusting for physician and health care system characteristics reduced the OR by 43%, to 1.7 (95% CI 1.3 to 2.4).

Conclusions: Racial disparity in the utilization of CA is a function of differences in the health care system "context" in which African American and white patients obtain care, combined with differences in the specific clinical characteristics of patients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Black People*
  • Black or African American
  • Cardiology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Coronary Angiography / ethics
  • Coronary Angiography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • White People*