Education level and the use of coronary computed tomography, functional testing, coronary angiography, revascularization, and outcomes-a 10-year Danish, nationwide, registry-based follow-up study

Marc Meller Søndergaard*, Phillip Freeman, Anna Meta Dyrvig Kristensen, Su Min Chang, Khurram Nassir, Martin Bødtker Mortensen, Bjarne Linde Nørgaard, Michael Maeng, Mikkel Porsborg Andersen, Peter Søgaard, Bhupendar Tayal, Manan Pareek, Søren Paaske Johnsen, Lars Køber, Gunnar Gislason, Christian Torp-Pedersen, Kristian Hay Kragholm

*Corresponding author for this work

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) can guide downstream preventive treatment and improve patient prognosis, but its use in relation to education level remains unexplored.

METHODS: This nationwide register-based cohort study assessed all residents in Denmark between 2008-2018 without coronary artery disease (CAD) and 50-80 years of age (n = 1 469 724). Residents were divided according to four levels of education: low, lower-mid, higher-mid, and high. Outcomes were CCTA, functional testing, invasive coronary angiography (ICA), revascularization, and major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events (MACCE).

RESULTS: Individuals with the lowest education level underwent CCTA (absolute risk [AR] 3.95% individuals aged ≥ 50-59, AR 3.62% individuals aged ≥ 60-69, AR 2.19% individuals aged ≥ 70-80) less often than individuals of lower-mid (AR 4.16%, AR 3.90%, AR 2.41%), higher-mid (AR 4.38%, AR 4.30%, AR 2.45%) and highest education level (AR 3.98%, AR 4.37%, AR 2.30%). Similar differences were observed for functional testing. Conversely, use of ICA, and risks of revascularization and MACCE were more common among individuals of lowest education level. Among patients examined with CCTA (n = 50 234), patients of lowest education level less often underwent functional testing and more likely initiated preventive medication, underwent ICA, revascularization, and experienced MACCE.

CONCLUSION: Despite tax-financed healthcare in Denmark, individuals of lowest education level were less likely to undergo CCTA and functional testing than persons of higher education level. ICA utilization, revascularization and MACCE risks were higher for individuals of lowest education level. Among CCTA-examined patients, patients of lowest education level were more likely to initiate preventive medication and had the highest risks of revascularization and MACCE when compared to higher education level groups. These findings suggest that the preventive potential of CCTA is underutilized in individuals of lower education level, a proxy for socioeconomic status. Socioeconomic differences in CAD assessment, care, and outcomes are likely even larger without tax-financed healthcare.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean heart journal. Quality of care & clinical outcomes
ISSN2058-5225
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Sept 2023

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