The impact of race on outcomes after carotid endarterectomy in the United States

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Abstract

Objective:

Black patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy (CEA) in the United States are more often symptomatic at presentation and have more comorbidities compared with white patients. However, the impact of race on outcomes after CEA is largely unknown.

Methods:

We identified CEA patients in the Vascular Quality Initiative registry (2012-2017) and compared them by race (black vs white). All other nonwhite races (891 [1.4%]) and Hispanics (2222 [3.4%]) were excluded. We used multilevel logistic regression to account for differences in demographics and comorbidities. We assessed long-term survival using multivariable Cox regression. The primary outcome was perioperative stroke/death, with long-term survival as a secondary outcome.

Results:

We included 57,622 CEA patients; 2909 (5.0%) were black, of whom 983 (34%) were symptomatic. Of the 54,713 white patients, 16,132 (30%) were symptomatic. Black patients, compared with white patients, had a higher vascular disease burden and were less likely to be operated on in a high-volume hospital or by a high-volume surgeon. In addition, black symptomatic patients, compared with white symptomatic patients, were more often operated on <2 weeks after the index neurologic symptom (47% vs 40%; P < .001). Perioperative stroke/death was comparable between black and white patients (symptomatic, 2.8% vs 2.2% [P = .2]; asymptomatic, 1.6% vs 1.3% [P = .2]), as was unadjusted survival at 3 years (93% vs 93%; P = .7). However, after adjustment, black patients did experience better long-term survival compared with white patients (hazard ratio, 0.8; 95% confidence interval, 0.7-0.9; P = .01). On multilevel logistic regression, race was not associated with perioperative stroke/death (odds ratio, 1.0; 95% confidence interval, 0.8-1.3; P = .98).

Conclusions:

Despite the greater prevalence of vascular risk factors in black patients and racial inequalities in surgical treatment, rates of perioperative stroke/death and unadjusted survival were similar between white and black patients. Moreover, black patients experienced better adjusted long-term survival after CEA.

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