Race and the decision to refer for coronary revascularization: The effect of physician awareness of patient ethnicity

Sande Okelo, Anne L. Taylor, Jackson T. Wright, Nahida Gordon, Geetha Mohan, Edward Lesnefsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: We sought to assess whether there were differences, relative to racial ethnicity, in coronary revascularization recommendations made by a panel that had no knowledge of the patients' ethnicity. BACKGROUND: Coronary revascularization is employed less frequently in African American than in white patients. It is unclear whether this utilization pattern is driven by clinical differences between the two populations or by nonclinical factors. METHODS: Data were reviewed from 938 (26.5% African American, 73.5% white) consecutive cardiac catheterizations done between 1993 and 1995. Revascularization recommendations were made by cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons provided with the patients' clinical and angiographic data, but without knowledge of their ethnicity. Revascularization recommendations were compared between African American and white patients and correlated with clinical characteristics. RESULTS: No difference was noted in the percentage of African American and white patients recommended for revascularization, without reference to whether the recommendation was for percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) or for coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) 40 vs. 46%, p = NS). African Americans were recommended more frequently for PTCA (22 vs. 18%, p = NS), whereas CABG was recommended for more white patients (28 vs. 18%, p = 0.002). Significantly fewer African Americans had disease in the left main or left anterior descending coronary artery or in multiple arteries. After adjusting for age, co-morbidity, left ventricular dysfunction and the extent of coronary disease, African Americans were more likely to have a recommendation for PTCA (odds ratio [OR] 1.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.96 to 2.11, p = 0.08) and less likely to have a recommendation for CABG (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.37 to 0.94, p = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that when only clinical factors are considered, the rates of recommendations for revascularization will be similar for white and African American patients; but the type of revascularization procedure may differ by ethnicity and may depend, in part, on clinical factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)698-704
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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