Esophageal variceal hemorrhage is a complication of cirrhosis that carries high mortality, and can be reduced with timely endoscopic variceal screening and treatment.We aim to evaluate overall rates of and disparities in receipt of endoscopic variceal screening among an ethnically diverse urban safety-net hospital.All consecutive adults with cirrhosis (7/1/2014 to 12/31/2015) were retrospectively evaluated to determine the rates of receiving esophageal variceal screening within 6 months and within 1 year after cirrhosis diagnosis. Race-/ethnicity-specific differences in rates of variceal screening were compared using chi-square testing and multivariate regression methods.Among 157 patients (65% male, 33.8% Hispanic, 22.3% African-American, 44.6% alcoholic liver disease, 29.9% chronic HCV), 56.8% received variceal screening within 6 months and 65.8% received screening within 1 year. Compared to non-Hispanic whites with cirrhosis, African-Americans (52.2 vs. 76.2%, p < 0.05), Asians (57.1 vs. 76.2%, p < 0.05), and Hispanics (43.9 vs. 76.2%, p < 0.05) were all significantly less likely to receive endoscopic variceal screening within 6 months after cirrhosis diagnosis. On multivariate analysis, African-Americans with cirrhosis were 66% less likely to receive variceal screening compared to non-Hispanic whites (HR 0.34, 95% CI 0.15-0.77, p < 0.01).Among adults with cirrhosis at a community-based safety-net hospital system, overall first-time variceal screening remains suboptimal. African-Americans were the least likely to receive timely variceal screening. These findings are particularly concerning given the significant barriers that ethnic minorities and safety-net populations already face in timely access to medical care.
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