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Minorities get more unnecessary procedures

DALLAS, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Minorities are more likely to have unnecessary surgery to remove plaque from inside their carotid arteries and have poorer results, U.S. researchers say.

The study, published in the journal Stroke, used data on 9,093 Medicare patients in New York who had carotid endartectomy. Ninety-five percent were Caucasian, 2.5 percent were African-American and 2.2 percent were Hispanic.

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In the 30 days following surgery, 9.5 percent of the Hispanic patients and 6.9 percent of the African-Americans had died or suffered a stroke due to the procedure, compared with 3.8 percent of the Caucasians.

One reason minorities had higher rates of complications was hey had severe neurological disease and more serious health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, the study found.

However, minorities were more likely to be cared for by less-experienced surgeons and hospitals.

Rates of unnecessary surgery were also higher in minorities -- for Hispanics, the procedure was inappropriate in 17.6 percent of the cases; for African-Americans, 13 percent; and for Caucasians, 7.9 percent, the study said.

"These results show we have the worst of all worlds," Dr. Ethan Halm of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas said in a statement. "Carotid artery surgery is, paradoxically, both overused and underused in minorities and with worse results.

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