Background: Studies on racial disparity in the use of cardiac diagnostic procedures are limited because they were conducted in the acute clinical setting without control for patient knowledge and emotional state or used models not controlling for racism. Using the setting (model) of elective evaluation of known, stable, cardiac patients undergoing noncardiac surgery, where the surgeon/anesthesiologist's personal interest precludes expression of potential racial bias, we assessed for racial differences in the utilization of diverse cardiac diagnostic procedures for risk assessment and optimization. Methods: This is a secondary analysis of data from 314 consecutive patients [92 (29%) African-American, 222 (71%) Caucasian] with coronary artery disease (CAD), cardiomyopathy (ejection fraction <45%), or treatment-requiring arrhythmias, who underwent noncardiac surgery. Results: The incidence of angina, prior myocardial infarction, and ischemic cardiomyopathy was higher in Caucasians (75%, 68%, and 164%, P<.0001, respectively), while nonischemic cardiomyopathy was more prevalent among African-Americans (84%, P<.0001). While, multivariately, African race predicted underuse of coronary angiography (odds ratio: 0.10, 95% confidence interval: 0.04-0.26, P<.0001), this predictor was eliminated when presence of CAD plus cardiomyopathy was factored in as a surrogate of severity. The use of noninvasive cardiac procedures and the 30-day mortality and morbidity did not differ by race. Conclusion: In a racism-proof model of preoperative evaluation of stable cardiac veterans, the racial disparity in the use of invasive procedures was related to epidemiologic differences. In addition, the parity in mortality and morbidity corroborates no underuse of diagnostic procedures among African-Americans.
- Coronary angiography
- Ethnic groups
- Preoperative care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine