Health Watch - Special Populations: Carotid Artery Surgery

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about health concerns that specifically affect certain groups. Some populations have different health outcomes or greater risks for certain problems. A recent study found that minorities have poorer results from surgery to remove plaque from inside carotid arteries to prevent stroke, and they’re more likely to have this surgery unnecessarily.

Minorities — including African Americans and Hispanics — had worse outcomes in part because they had more serious health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. The study found that African Americans were also more likely to be treated by less-experienced doctors. Dr. Ethan Halm, an internist at UT Southwestern Medical Center who was senior author on the national study, says the surgery is both overused and underused in minority groups. Patients who shouldn’t be candidates for the surgery are having it unnecessarily, which increases their risks, while patients who might benefit often aren’t getting the surgery.  

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/heartlungvascular to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in heart, lung and vascular.

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September 2009


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