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Cheng EM, Keyhani S, Ofner S, Williams LS, Hebert PL, Ordin DL, Bravata DM. Lower use of carotid artery imaging at minority-serving hospitals. Neurology. 2012 Jul 10; 79(2):138-44.
OBJECTIVE: We determined whether site of care explains a previously identified racial disparity in carotid artery imaging. METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, data were obtained from a chart review of veterans hospitalized with ischemic stroke at 127 Veterans Administration hospitals in 2007. Extensive exclusion criteria were applied to obtain a sample who should have received carotid artery imaging. Minority-serving hospitals were defined as the top 10% of hospitals ranked by the proportion of stroke patients who were black. Population level multivariate logistic regression models with adjustment for correlation of patients in hospitals were used to calculate predictive probabilities of carotid artery imaging by race and minority-service hospital status. Bootstrapping was used to obtain 95% confidence intervals (CIs). RESULTS: The sample consisted of 1,534 white patients and 628 black patients. Nearly 40% of all black patients were admitted to 1 of 13 minority-serving hospitals. No racial disparity in receipt of carotid artery imaging was detected within nonminority serving hospitals. However, the predicted probability of receiving carotid artery imaging for white patients at nonminority-serving hospitals (89.7%, 95% CI [87.3%, 92.1%]) was significantly higher than both white patients (78.0% [68.3%, 87.8%] and black patients (70.5% [59.3%, 81.6%]) at minority-serving hospitals. CONCLUSIONS: Underuse of carotid artery imaging occurred most often among patients hospitalized at minority-serving hospitals. Further work is required to explore why site of care is a mechanism for racial disparities in this clinically important diagnostic test.