Disparities in the surgical treatment of cerebrovascular pathologies: a contemporary systematic review

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World Neurosurg. 2021 Nov 29:S1878-8750(21)01817-9. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2021.11.106. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: This systematic review analyzes contemporary literature on racial/ethnic, insurance, and socioeconomic disparities within cerebrovascular surgery in the United States to determine areas for improvement.

METHODS: We conducted an electronic database search of literature published between January 1990 and July 2020 using PRISMA guidelines for studies analyzing a racial/ethnic, insurance, or socioeconomic disparity within adult cerebrovascular surgery.

RESULTS: Out of 2,873 articles screened for eligibility by title and abstract, 970 underwent full-text independent review by 3 authors. Twenty-seven additional articles were identified through references to generate a final list of 47 included studies for analysis. Forty-six were retrospective reviews and 1 was a prospective observational cohort study, thereby comprising Levels III and IV of evidence. Studies investigated carotid artery stenting (11/47, 23%), carotid endarterectomy (22/47, 46.8%), mechanical thrombectomy (8/47, 17%), and endovascular aneurysm coiling or surgical aneurysm clipping (20/47, 42.6%). Minority and underinsured patients were less likely to receive surgical treatment. Nonwhite patients were more likely to experience a postoperative complication, though this significance was lost in some studies using multivariate analyses to account for complication risk factors. White and privately insured patients generally experienced shorter length of hospital stay, had lower rates of in-hospital mortality, and underwent routine discharge. Twenty-five papers (53%) reported no disparities within at least one examined metric.

CONCLUSION: This comprehensive contemporary systematic review demonstrates the existence of disparity gaps within the field of adult cerebrovascular surgery. It highlights the importance of continued investigation into sources of disparity and efforts to promote equity within the field.

PMID:34856403 | DOI:10.1016/j.wneu.2021.11.106