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1.  Likelihood of coronary angiography among First Nations patients with acute myocardial infarction 
Morbidity due to cardiovascular disease is high among First Nations people. The extent to which this may be related to the likelihood of coronary angiography is unclear. We examined the likelihood of coronary angiography after acute myocardial infarction (MI) among First Nations and non–First Nations patients.
Our study included adults with incident acute MI between 1997 and 2008 in Alberta. We determined the likelihood of angiography among First Nations and non–First Nations patients, adjusted for important confounders, using the Alberta Provincial Project for Outcome Assessment in Coronary Heart Disease (APPROACH) database.
Of the 46 764 people with acute MI, 1043 (2.2%) were First Nations. First Nations patients were less likely to receive angiography within 1 day after acute MI (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.73, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.62–0.87). Among First Nations and non–First Nations patients who underwent angiography (64.9%), there was no difference in the likelihood of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 0.92, 95% CI 0.83–1.02) or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) (adjusted HR 1.03, 95% CI 0.85–1.25). First Nations people had worse survival if they received medical management alone (adjusted HR 1.38, 95% CI 1.07–1.77) or if they underwent PCI (adjusted HR 1.38, 95% CI 1.06–1.80), whereas survival was similar among First Nations and non–First Nations patients who received CABG.
First Nations people were less likely to undergo angiography after acute MI and experienced worse long-term survival compared with non–First Nations people. Efforts to improve access to angiography for First Nations people may improve outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4081235  PMID: 24847149
2.  Discordant indigenous and provider frames explain challenges in improving access to arthritis care: a qualitative study using constructivist grounded theory 
Access to health services is a determinant of population health and is known to be reduced for a variety of specialist services for Indigenous populations in Canada. With arthritis being the most common chronic condition experienced by Indigenous populations and causing high levels of disability, it is critical to resolve access disparities through an understanding of barriers and facilitators to care. The objective of this study was to inform future health services reform by investigating health care access from the perspective of Aboriginal people with arthritis and health professionals.
Using constructivist grounded theory methodology we investigated Indigenous peoples’ experiences in accessing arthritis care through the reports of 16 patients and 15 healthcare providers in Alberta, Canada. Semi-structured interviews were conducted between July 2012 and February 2013 and transcribed verbatim. The patient and provider data were first analyzed separately by two team members then brought together to form a framework. The framework was refined through further analysis following the multidisciplinary research team's discussions. Once the framework was developed, reports on the patient and provider data were shared with each participant group independently and participants were interviewed to assess validity of the summary.
In the resulting theoretical framework Indigenous participants framed their experience with arthritis as 'toughing it out’ and spoke of racism encountered in the healthcare setting as a deterrent to pursuing care. Healthcare providers were frustrated by high disease severity and missed appointments, and framed Indigenous patients as lacking 'buy-in’. Constraints imposed by complex healthcare systems contributed to tensions between Indigenous peoples and providers.
Low specialist care utilization rates among Indigenous people cannot be attributed to cultural and social preferences. Further, the assumptions made by providers lead to stereotyping and racism and reinforce rejection of healthcare by patients. Examples of 'working around’ the system were revealed and showed potential for improved utilization of specialist services. This framework has significant implications for health policy and indicates that culturally safe services are a priority in addressing chronic disease management.
PMCID: PMC4074382  PMID: 24916481
3.  Association between First Nations ethnicity and progression to kidney failure by presence and severity of albuminuria 
Despite a low prevalence of chronic kidney disease (estimated glomerular filtration rate [GFR] < 60 mL/min per 1.73 m2), First Nations people have high rates of kidney failure requiring chronic dialysis or kidney transplantation. We sought to examine whether the presence and severity of albuminuria contributes to the progression of chronic kidney disease to kidney failure among First Nations people.
We identified all adult residents of Alberta (age ≥ 18 yr) for whom an outpatient serum creatinine measurement was available from May 1, 2002, to Mar. 31, 2008. We determined albuminuria using urine dipsticks and categorized results as normal (i.e., no albuminuria), mild, heavy or unmeasured. Our primary outcome was progression to kidney failure (defined as the need for chronic dialysis or kidney transplantation, or a sustained doubling of serum creatinine levels). We calculated rates of progression to kidney failure by First Nations status, by estimated GFR and by albuminuria category. We determined the relative hazard of progression to kidney failure for First Nations compared with non–First Nations participants by level of albuminuria and estimated GFR.
Of the 1 816 824 participants we identified, 48 669 (2.7%) were First Nations. First Nations people were less likely to have normal albuminuria compared with non–First Nations people (38.7% v. 56.4%). Rates of progression to kidney failure were consistently 2- to 3-fold higher among First Nations people than among non–First Nations people, across all levels of albuminuria and estimated GFRs. Compared with non–First Nations people, First Nations people with an estimated GFR of 15.0–29.9 mL/min per 1.73 m2 had the highest risk of progression to kidney failure, with similar hazard ratios for those with normal and heavy albuminuria.
Albuminuria confers a similar risk of progression to kidney failure for First Nations and non–First Nations people.
PMCID: PMC3903763  PMID: 24295865
4.  Incidence and causes of end-stage renal disease among Aboriginal children and young adults 
Although Aboriginal adults have a higher risk of end-stage renal disease than non-Aboriginal adults, the incidence and causes of end-stage renal disease among Aboriginal children and young adults are not well described.
We calculated age- and sex-specific incidences of end-stage renal disease among Aboriginal people less than 22 years of age using data from a national organ failure registry. Incidence rate ratios were used to compare rates between Aboriginal and white Canadians. To contrast causes of end-stage renal disease by ethnicity and age, we calculated the odds of congenital diseases, glomerulonephritis and diabetes for Aboriginal people and compared them with those for white people in the following age strata: 0 to less than 22 years, 22 to less than 40 years, 40 to less than 60 years and older than 60 years.
Incidence rate ratios of end-stage renal disease for Aboriginal children and young adults (age < 22 yr, v. white people) were 1.82 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.40–2.38) for boys and 3.24 (95% CI 2.60–4.05) for girls. Compared with white people, congenital diseases were less common among Aboriginal people aged less than 22 years (odds ratio [OR] 0.56, 95% CI 0.36–0.86), and glomerulonephritis was more common (OR 2.18, 95% CI 1.55–3.07). An excess of glomerulonephritis, but not diabetes, was seen among Aboriginal people aged 22 to less than 40 years. The converse was true (higher risk of diabetes, lower risk of glomerulonephritis) among Aboriginal people aged 40 years and older.
The incidence of end-stage renal disease is higher among Aboriginal children and young adults than among white children and young adults. This higher incidence may be driven by an increased risk of glomerulonephritis in this population.
PMCID: PMC3470642  PMID: 22927509
5.  Dialysis and transplantation among Aboriginal children with kidney failure 
Relatively little is known about the management and outcomes of Aboriginal children with renal failure in Canada. We evaluated differences in dialysis modality, time spent on dialysis, rates of kidney transplantation, and patient and allograft survival between Aboriginal children and non-Aboriginal children.
For this population-based cohort study, we used data from a national pediatric end-stage renal disease database. Patients less than 18 years old who started renal replacement treatment (dialysis or kidney transplantation) in nine Canadian provinces (Quebec data were not available) and all three territories between 1992 and 2007 were followed until death, loss to follow-up or end of the study period. We compared initial modality of dialysis and time to first kidney transplant between Aboriginal children, white children and children of other ethnicity. We examined the association between ethnicity and likelihood of kidney transplantation using adjusted Cox proportional hazard models for Aboriginal and white children (data for the children of other ethnicity did not meet the assumptions of proportional hazards).
Among 843 pediatric patients included in the study, 104 (12.3%) were Aboriginal, 521 (61.8%) were white, and 218 (25.9%) were from other ethnic minorities. Hemodialysis was the initial modality of dialysis for 48.0% of the Aboriginal patients, 42.7% of the white patients and 62.6% of those of other ethnicity (p < 0.001). The time from start of dialysis to first kidney transplant was longer among the Aboriginal children (median 1.75 years, interquartile range 0.69–2.81) than among the children in the other two groups (p < 0.001). After adjustment for confounders, Aboriginal children were less likely than white children to receive a transplant from a living donor (hazard ratio [HR] 0.36, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.21–0.61) or a transplant from any donor (HR 0.54, 95% CI 0.40–0.74) during the study period.
The time from start of dialysis to first kidney transplant was longer among Aboriginal children than among white children. Further evaluation is needed to determine barriers to transplantation among Aboriginal children.
PMCID: PMC3134757  PMID: 21609989
6.  Access to health care among status Aboriginal people with chronic kidney disease 
Ethnic disparities in access to health care and health outcomes are well documented. It is unclear whether similar differences exist between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people with chronic kidney disease in Canada. We determined whether access to care differed between status Aboriginal people (Aboriginal people registered under the federal Indian Act) and non-Aboriginal people with chronic kidney disease.
We identified 106 511 non-Aboriginal and 1182 Aboriginal patients with chronic kidney disease (estimated glomerular filtration rate less than 60 mL/min/1.73 m2). We compared outcomes, including hospital admissions, that may have been preventable with appropriate outpatient care (ambulatory-care–sensitive conditions) as well as use of specialist services, including visits to nephrologists and general internists.
Aboriginal people were almost twice as likely as non-Aboriginal people to be admitted to hospital for an ambulatory-care–sensitive condition (rate ratio 1.77, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.46–2.13). Aboriginal people with severe chronic kidney disease (estimated glomerular filtration rate < 30 mL/min/1.73 m2) were 43% less likely than non-Aboriginal people with severe chronic kidney disease to visit a nephrologist (hazard ratio 0.57, 95% CI 0.39–0.83). There was no difference in the likelihood of visiting a general internist (hazard ratio 1.00, 95% CI 0.83–1.21).
Increased rates of hospital admissions for ambulatory-care–sensitive conditions and a reduced likelihood of nephrology visits suggest potential inequities in care among status Aboriginal people with chronic kidney disease. The extent to which this may contribute to the higher rate of kidney failure in this population requires further exploration.
PMCID: PMC2572655  PMID: 18981441

Results 1-6 (6)