Hispanics Receive Fewer Surgeries for Vascular Disease

FRIDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Compared to the general population, Hispanics in the United States have fewer vascular surgeries, less favorable outcomes for treatment of vascular disease, and often have advanced vascular disease by the time they seek treatment, according to a new study.

While the reasons for these disparities aren't understood, they may be due to a number of socioeconomic and genetic factors, said the study authors, led by a vascular surgery team from New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical College.

Their findings were published in the November issue of the Journal of Vascular Surgery.

The research focused on three common vascular surgery procedures -- lower extremity revascularization (LER), carotid revascularization (CR), and abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair -- performed at hospitals in New York and in Florida between 2000 and 2004.

Compared to whites, Hispanic patients had a higher rate of amputation (6.2 percent vs. 3.4 percent) following LER -- meant to restore blood supply to a body part or organ -- and higher death rates following elective AAA repair (5.0 percent vs. 3.4 percent). The study also found that Hispanic patients were as much as two times more likely than whites to seek treatment only after developing advanced vascular disease, and they had longer hospital recovery times.

"These are significant disparities, and the reasons for them must be determined in order to make improvements," principal investigator Dr. Nicholas J. Morrissey, director of clinical trials and a vascular surgeon at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, said in a prepared statement.

"One explanation may be socioeconomic factors, particularly insurance status, which could impede Hispanic patients' access to proper preventive and diagnostic care," said Morrissey, who is also an assistant professor of surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Weill Cornell Medical College.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Columbia University Medical Center, news release, November 2007

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