The retrospective research was coordinated by Liliana E. Pezzin, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine, at the Medical College at Johns Hopkins. African American males were 25 to 30 percent less likely to receive any of the tests than non-African American males. Use of all forms of diagnostic testing and monitoring, with the exception of oxygen saturation monitoring, decreased among male African American patients over the six-year period.

African American women were approximately five percent less likely to have electrocardiography tests than non-African American men. African American women were also 17 percent less likely to undergo cardiac monitoring, 14 percent less likely to have oxygen saturation monitoring, and six percent less likely to have chest radiography tests than non-African American men. Similarly, the rate of testing was lower for non-African American women than it was for non-African American men.

Patients covered by forms of insurance other than commercial insurance were approximately 13 percent less likely to undergo electrocardiography. Additionally, patients covered by these forms of insurance were almost 21 percent less likely to be placed on cardiac monitoring, 23 percent less likely to have oxygen saturation measured, and more than 13 percent less likely to receive chest radiography than patients covered by commercial insurance.

The study also found that approximately 82 percent of commercially insured non-African American men received electrocardiography testing when presenting with chest pain in 2000. This is nearly a 27 percent higher proportion than uninsured African American men, and a 31 percent higher proportion than African American men covered by non-commercial forms of insurance.

MEDICA.de; Source: Medical College of Wisconsin