Racial variation in treatment preferences and willingness to randomize in the Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT)

Addisalem Arega, Nancy J.O. Birkmeyer, Jon D.N. Lurie, Tor Tosteson, Jennifer Gibson, Brett A. Taylor, Tamara Shawver Morgan, James Neil Weinstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Scopus citations


    STUDY DESIGN. Analysis of baseline data for patients enrolled in Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT), a project conducting three randomized and three observational cohort studies of surgical and nonoperative treatments for intervertebral disc herniation (IDH), spinal stenosis (SpS), and degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS). OBJECTIVE. To explore racial variation in treatment preferences and willingness to be randomized. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA. Increasing minority participation in research has been a priority at the NIH. Prior studies have documented lower rates of participation in research and preferences for invasive treatment among African-Americans. METHODS. Patients enrolled in SPORT (March 2000 to February 2005) that reported data on their race (n = 2,323) were classified as White (87%), Black (8%), or Other (5%). Treatment preferences (nonoperative, unsure, surgical), and willingness to be randomized were compared among these groups while controlling for baseline differences using multivariate logistic regression. RESULTS. There were numerous significant differences in baseline characteristics among the racial groups. Following adjustment for these differences, Blacks remained less likely to prefer surgical treatment among both IDH (White, 55%; Black, 37%; Other, 55%, P = 0.023) and SpS/DS (White, 46%; Black, 30%; Other, 43%; P = 0.017) patients. Higher randomization rates among Black IDH patients (46% vs. 30%) were no longer significant following adjustment (odds ratio [OR] = 1.45, P = 0.235). Treatment preference remained a strong independent predictor of randomization in multivariate analyses for both IDH (unsure OR = 3.88, P < 0.001 and surgical OR = 0.23, P < 0.001) and SpS/DS (unsure OR = 6.93, P < 0.001 and surgical OR = 0.45, P < 0.001) patients. CONCLUSIONS. Similar to prior studies, Black participants were less likely than Whites or Others to prefer surgical treatment; however, they were no less likely to agree to be randomized. Treatment preferences were strongly related to both race and willingness to be randomized.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)2263-2269
    Number of pages7
    Issue number19
    StatePublished - Sep 2006


    • Clinical trial
    • Degenerative spondylolisthesis
    • Intervertebral disc herniation
    • Racial variation
    • Spinal stenosis
    • Surgical treatment
    • Treatment preference
    • Willingness to be randomized

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Neurology
    • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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