The use of myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) in the management of coronary artery disease (CAD) is well established. Although prior studies have shown disparities in the use of invasive angiography in patients with acute MI, data on factors affecting referral to angiography post-MPI are lacking. We sought to evaluate the primary determinants of referral to invasive angiography post-MPI and specifically assess the role of non-traditional non-clinical factors such as race/ethnicity, socioeconomic factors, insurance status, and marital status.
All patients without known CAD who underwent stress SPECT MPI over 15 years were reviewed and the performance of coronary angiography within 90 days of their MPI was recorded. Multiple factors were analyzed for an association with referral to angiography, including exercise and MPI results, baseline demographics, traditional cardiac risk factors, and non-traditional factors such as ethnicity, insurance, marital and socioeconomic status. In a secondary analysis, these factors were assessed with regard to abnormal MPI results.
Out of 27,895 total patients, 2,150 (7.7%) underwent invasive coronary angiography. On multivariate analysis, inpatient location, positive ECG response, and abnormal MPI results were the strongest predictors of angiography. Non-traditional factors such as race/ethnicity and insurance status had a significant association with referral to angiography with Caucasians (OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.18-1.71, P < .0001) and those with private insurance (OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.13-1.62, P = .001) or Medicare (OR 1.30, 95% CI 1.08-1.56, P = .006) having higher rates of angiography despite controlling for traditional risk factors and test results.
Our study results indicate that non-traditional factors such as race/ethnicity and insurance status influence patient management decisions and impact the performance of downstream cardiac invasive testing after stress MPI. Higher rates of angiography in Caucasians, privately insured and Medicare patients were seen despite controlling for traditional risk factors and abnormal test results. Further research is needed to better understand these disparities, especially in the current healthcare environment.