Counting the lives lost: How many black trauma deaths are attributable to disparities?

Valerie K. Scott, Zain G. Hashmi, Eric B. Schneider, Xuan Hui, David T. Efron, Edward E. Cornwell, Lisa A. Cooper, Adil H. Haider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The number of black trauma deaths attributable to racial disparities is unknown. The objective of this study was to quantify the excess mortality experienced by black patients given disparities in the risk of mortality. Materials and methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of patients aged 16-65 y with blunt and penetrating injuries, who were included in the National Trauma Data Bank from 2007-2010. Generalized linear modeling estimated the relative risk of death for black patients versus white patients, adjusting for known confounders. This analysis determined the difference in the observed number of black trauma deaths at Level I and II centers and the expected number of deaths if the risk of mortality for black patients had been equivalent to that of white patients. Results: A total of 1.06 million patients were included. Among patients with blunt and penetrating injuries at Level I trauma centers, white males and females had a relative risk of death of 0.82 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.80-0.85) and 0.78 (95% CI, 0.74-0.83), respectively, compared with black patients. Similarly, at Level II trauma centers, white males and females had a relative risk of death of 0.84 (95% CI, 0.80-0.88) and 0.82 (95% CI, 0.73-0.91). Overall, of the estimated 41,613 deaths that occurred at Level I and II centers, 2206 (5.3%) were excess deaths among black patients. Conclusions: Over a 4-y period, approximately 5% of trauma center deaths could be attributed to racial disparities in trauma outcomes. These data underscore the need to better understand and intervene against the mechanisms that lead to trauma outcomes disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)480-487
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Volume184
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Disparities
  • Mortality
  • Trauma outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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