Disparities in health care are well documented for several racial, ethnic, and gender groups. In peripheral arterial disease, differences in prevalence, treatment selection, treatment outcomes, and resulting quality of life have negative effects on some minority groups and women. It may be easy to document disparities, but it is harder to understand their underlying causes. Are there biologic differences between members of racial and ethnic groups that influence disease presentation and outcomes? Or is the socioeconomic environment that surrounds them the true driver of observed differences? This article reviews the evidence for racial and gender disparities in vascular surgery and presents some potential mechanisms that may explain the disparities.
Copyright 2010 Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.