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Keyhani S, Cheng E, Ofner S, Williams L, Bravata D. The underuse of carotid interventions in veterans with symptomatic carotid stenosis. The American journal of managed care. 2014 Jul 1; 20(7):e250-6.
OBJECTIVES: To examine the receipt of carotid intervention among eligible patients post stroke in the Veterans Health Administration (VA). METHODS: We examined whether veterans admitted to a VA medical center in 2007 with a diagnosis of stroke and who were eligible for intervention, received carotid intervention in a period up to 6 months after their index hospitalization. We also examined whether demographics, comorbid conditions, stroke severity and availability of vascular intervention services were independently associated with receipt of intervention. RESULTS: Among the 5721 patients admitted, 253 ischemic stroke patients had evidence of some carotid stenosis and had data on side of stroke available. Among the 200 patients who had at least 50% to 99% stenosis of the carotid artery, 34 (17%) received intervention (95% confidence interval [CI], 11.79%-22.21%). In a multivariable model, black race and past history of diabetes were significantly associated with carotid intervention: An eligible black patient was 6 times more likely to NOT receive intervention compared to patients of other races (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 6.54; 95% CI, 1.34-31.9), and a patient with diabetes was 3 times more likely to NOT receive intervention (adjusted OR = 3.38; 95% CI, 1.24- 9.24) compared to non-diabetics. Stroke severity and availability of vascular surgery services was not associated with receipt of intervention. CONCLUSIONS: Few patients with symptomatic carotid stenosis who were admitted with stroke to the VA received carotid intervention. Future research should be directed at improving access to this procedure among eligible patients in the VA.