Racial-Ethnic Disparities in Acute Stroke Care in the Florida-Puerto Rico Collaboration to Reduce Stroke Disparities Study

J Am Heart Assoc. 2017 Feb 14;6(2):e004073. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.116.004073.


Background: Racial-ethnic disparities in acute stroke care can contribute to inequality in stroke outcomes. We examined race-ethnic disparities in acute stroke performance metrics in a voluntary stroke registry among Florida and Puerto Rico Get With the Guidelines-Stroke hospitals.

Methods and results: Seventy-five sites in the Florida Puerto Rico Stroke Registry (66 Florida and 9 Puerto Rico) recorded 58 864 ischemic stroke cases (2010-2014). Logistic regression models examined racial-ethnic differences in acute stroke performance measures and defect-free care (intravenous tissue plasminogen activator treatment, in-hospital antithrombotic therapy, deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis, discharge antithrombotic therapy, appropriate anticoagulation therapy, statin use, smoking cessation counseling) and temporal trends. Among ischemic stroke cases, 63% were non-Hispanic white (NHW), 18% were non-Hispanic black (NHB), 14% were Hispanic living in Florida, and 6% were Hispanic living in Puerto Rico. NHW patients were the oldest, followed by Hispanics, and NHBs. Defect-free care was greatest among NHBs (81%), followed by NHWs (79%) and Florida Hispanics (79%), then Puerto Rico Hispanics (57%) (P<0.0001). Puerto Rico Hispanics were less likely than Florida whites to meet any stroke care performance metric other than anticoagulation. Defect-free care improved for all groups during 2010-2014, but the disparity in Puerto Rico persisted (2010: NHWs=63%, NHBs=65%, Florida Hispanics=59%, Puerto Rico Hispanics=31%; 2014: NHWs=93%, NHBs=94%, Florida Hispanics=94%, Puerto Rico Hispanics=63%).

Conclusions: Racial-ethnic/geographic disparities were observed for acute stroke care performance metrics. Adoption of a quality improvement program improved stroke care from 2010 to 2014 in Puerto Rico and all Florida racial-ethnic groups. However, stroke care quality delivered in Puerto Rico is lower than in Florida. Sustained support of evidence-based acute stroke quality improvement programs is required to improve stroke care and minimize racial-ethnic disparities, particularly in resource-strained Puerto Rico.

Keywords: cerebrovascular disease; disparities; ethnicity; race.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Brain Ischemia / ethnology*
  • Brain Ischemia / prevention & control
  • Continental Population Groups*
  • Ethnic Groups*
  • Female
  • Florida / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Puerto Rico / epidemiology
  • Registries*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors