Blacks and women are less likely to undergo invasive cardiac procedures than whites and men in patients with chronic renal disease. We determined the relationship between ethnic and sex differences in access to cardiac procedures as patients progress to ESRD and acquire Medicare insurance. We performed a cohort study of a nationwide random sample of 4,987 patients who progressed to ESRD in 1986 to 1987 and were followed up for 7 years was used. Data were collected from medical charts and Medicare administrative records. Pre-ESRD, the odds of cardiac procedure use were much lower for white women (adjusted odds 0.67 [95% confidence interval (Cl) 0.49-0.92]), black men (adjusted odds 0.32 [95% Cl 0.20-0.49]), and black women (adjusted odds 0.30 [95%Cl 0.18-0.50]) compared with white men. After initiating dialysis therapy, the ethnic and sex differences decreased with odds of receiving a cardiac procedure compared with white men 0.88 (95% Cl 0.63-1.21) for white women, 0.66 (95% Cl 0.47-0.92) for black men, and 0.75 (95% Cl 0.53-1.08) for black women. Patients uninsured pre-ESRD had the largest increase in procedure rates at follow-up. The wide pre-ESRD disparities in cardiac procedure use between white women, black men, and black women compared with white men narrowed substantially with acquisition of Medicare and entry into comprehensive dialysis care. Health insurance contributed to the narrowing of differences. Procedure use for black men still lagged behind the other groups, suggesting the need for closer examination of health needs in this potentially vulnerable group.
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