Introduction: The risk of ischemic stroke doubles for each decade beyond the age of 55. While disparities, particularly racial disparities, have been described for many aspects of acute stroke care, these disparities have not been well characterized among older adults. The purpose of this analysis was to evaluate potential differences in IV-tPA utilization among acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients aged ≥65 years.
Methods: We used the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) to examine primary AIS diagnosis discharges (ICD-9 codes 433.x1, 434.x1 and 436) from US hospitals over 2006-2011, among those aged ≥ 65 years. Utilization of IV-tPA was identified using procedure code 99.10. Multivariate logistic regression was conducted to determine age and race associations with IV tPA utilization.
Results: Over the 6 year study period, we identified 1.5 million ischemic stroke discharges, with 3.9% receiving IV-tPA. Compared to discharges who did not receive treatment, those receiving IV-tPA were less likely to be female and black. The odds of women receiving IV-tPA were 10% lower than men. After adjusting for demographics, insurance, and medical comorbidities, the odds of women receiving IV-tPA were still 5% lower (Table). When compared to non-black discharges, older blacks were at 25% lower odds of receiving IV-tPA. After adjusting for demographics, insurance and medical comorbidities, older blacks were at 22% lower odds of receiving IV-tPA (Table).
Conclusions: Among older Americans, women and blacks have lower odds of being treated with IV-tPA, even after adjusting for age, insurance and comorbidities. A greater understanding of the reasons for these unexplained differences in the fastest growing proportion of our population is needed.