Comparison of ischemic stroke outcomes and patient and hospital characteristics by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status

Amresh D Hanchate, Lee H Schwamm, Wei Huang, Elaine M Hylek
Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation 2013, 44 (2): 469-76

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Current literature provides mixed evidence on disparities by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status in discharge outcomes after hospitalization for acute ischemic stroke. Using comprehensive data from 8 states, we sought to compare inpatient mortality and length of stay by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

METHODS: We examined all 2007 hospitalizations for acute ischemic stroke in all nonfederal acute care hospitals in Arizona, California, Florida, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Population was stratified by race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, and Hispanics) and socioeconomic status, measured by median income of patient zip code. For each stratum, we estimated risk-adjusted rates of inpatient mortality and longer length of stay (greater than median length of stay). We also compared the hospitals where these subpopulations received care.

RESULTS: Hispanic and black patients accounted for 14% and 12% of all ischemic stroke admissions (N=147 780), respectively, and had lower crude inpatient mortality rates (Hispanic=4.5%, blacks=4.4%; all P<0.001) compared with white patients (5.8%). Hispanic and black patients were younger and fewer had any form of atrial fibrillation. Adjusted for patient risk, inpatient mortality was similar by race/ethnicity, but was significantly higher for low-income area patients than that for high-income area patients (odds ratio, 1.08; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.15). Risk-adjusted rates of longer length of stay were higher among minority and low-income area populations.

CONCLUSIONS: Risk-adjusted inpatient mortality was similar among patients by race/ethnicity but higher among patients from lower income areas. However, this pattern was not evident in sensitivity analyses, including the use of mechanical ventilation as a partial surrogate for stroke severity.

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