Health Watch - Stroke: Minority Report

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This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about stroke and ways to prevent it. We’ve discussed surgery for preventing stroke and how effective and risky it can be. Minorities are more at risk for stroke, but they may have poorer results from surgery.

African-Americans and Hispanics are less likely to receive needed surgery to unclog arteries, and yet they’re more likely to have unnecessary surgery, and their outcomes tend to be worse. That’s what researchers found when they reviewed records for thousands of patients.

Dr. Ethan Halm, a stroke expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says this study shows that doctors need to look into how patient, doctor and hospital factors contribute to these disparities so that health policies for better outcomes can be developed. Minorities are often sicker when they have surgery, and they’re more likely to be treated by less-experienced doctors. That can account for some of the disparity, but not all.


February 2011

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