Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death among blacks, but little is known about the late results of coronary artery bypass surgery in this population. It is not known whether differences in preoperative medical characteristics or medical health insurance affect outcome. We studied the effects of medical risk factors on survival outcome after coronary artery bypass surgery in a population of medically insured black and white patients.
Racial status and outcomes from surgery were determined in 3728 consecutive patients who had coronary artery bypass surgery at the authors' institution from January 1, 1984, to June 30, 1992. Coronary artery bypass surgery (excluding valve replacement) was performed in 115 black and 3113 white patients.
Late survival probability was worse for blacks than whites at 1 year (84% vs 92%) and at 5 years (64% vs 82%, P=.001, Wilcoxon test). Most deaths were due to cardiac events in both groups (68% in blacks vs 67% in whites). Blacks had more hypertension (84% vs 54%), diabetes mellitus (36% vs 23%), and more were current smokers (21% vs 14%) (all P<.05, Fisher's exact test). Medical insurance coverage for blacks and whites was as follows: Medicare (60% vs 57%), private (38% vs 42%), and Medi-Cal (2% vs 2%). Operative mortality (30 days) was similar (5.2% for blacks vs 4.1% for whites; P=.48, Fisher's exact test). In a Cox regression model, race predicted long-term survival and persisted as an important risk factor after adjusting for preoperative factors related to patient survival (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.10; 95% confidence interval, 1.43 to 3.07).
In this group of predominantly medically insured patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery, the risk of death in blacks at 5 years was twice that of whites.(Arch Intern Med. 1996;156:769-773)