Black patients with stroke are less likely than white patients to undergo a potentially lifesaving, minimally-invasive thrombectomy procedure to remove blood clots from arteries in the brain, according to a study presented at the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery’s 18th annual meeting (SNIS; July 26–29 2021, Colorado Springs, USA and virtual). The study, entitled “Racial Disparity in Mechanical Thrombectomy Utilization: Multicenter Registry Results from 2016–2020,” analysed the records of 34,596 patients from 42 hospitals across 12 states, over a five-year period, and found that Black stroke patients were 28% less likely than white patients to receive thrombectomy care.
Stroke caused by blockage of a large artery in the brain must be diagnosed as soon as possible, as the effectiveness of a thrombectomy in reducing disability decreases with time. However, the researchers found that Black patients were 27% less likely than white patients to arrive at the hospital within five hours of stroke onset and 30% less likely to be diagnosed with blockage of a large artery in the brain upon arrival.
“Black patients in the USA consistently experience worse health outcomes than white patients, leading to staggering racial health gaps,” said Adam Wallace, a neurointerventional surgeon at Ascension Columbia St Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee, USA, and the study’s lead author. “It is imperative that we take steps to ensure that all stroke patients are treated with the utmost urgency and receive optimal care, including surgery when appropriate, so they can experience the highest quality of life after stroke.”
The authors note that further research is needed to assess whether the disparities observed in their study’s results can be reduced by community stroke education, technologies that allow thrombectomy to be performed later after stroke onset, and more aggressive patient screening for brain artery blockages.