Health Services Research & Development

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Jones KC, Salemi JL, Dongarwar D, Kunik ME, Rodriguez SM, Quach TH, Salihu HM. Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Receipt of Electroconvulsive Therapy for Elderly Patients With a Principal Diagnosis of Depression in Inpatient Settings. The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. 2019 Mar 1; 27(3):266-278.
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Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is underused despite being among the most effective treatments for older adults with severe, pharmacotherapy-resistant mood disorders. Furthermore, those in minority groups are even less likely to receive ECT. The objective of this study was to examine racial and ethnic disparities in the receipt of ECT in older adults. METHODS: We used survey-weighted log-binomial regression to generate adjusted prevalence ratios (aPRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) that represented the associations between race/ethnicity and receipt of ECT during hospitalization at an ECT-available hospital. We used data from the 2002-2015 National Inpatient Sample, the largest all-payer inpatient database in the United States. The analysis was restricted to hospitalizations of adults aged 65-95 with depression as a principal diagnostic code. The primary exposure was patient race/ethnicity, and the primary outcome was receipt of ECT during hospitalization, restricted to ECT-available hospitals. RESULTS: Among the 685,939 patients included in the analysis, 45% received care at an ECT-available hospital, and among those, 17% received ECT. Non-Hispanic (NH) blacks were nearly half as likely to receive ECT as NH whites (aPR: 0.56 [0.47-0.81]; t: -6.42; df: 1,327; p < 0.001). Hispanics were nearly half as likely to receive ECT as NH whites (aPR: 0.57 [0.44-0.72]; t: -4.59; df: 1,327; p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: This national cross-sectional study of racial/ethnic disparities in receipt of ECT among depressed elderly patients confirms prior literature and reveals the potential worsening of disparities for racial/ethnic minorities blacks.