Race affects mortality after moderate to severe traumatic brain injury

J Surg Res. 2010 Oct;163(2):303-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2010.03.018. Epub 2010 Apr 1.


Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the most common cause of death and disability in trauma patients, affecting over 1 million Americans per year. Minorities are at disproportionate risk for TBI, and they account for nearly half of all brain injury hospitalizations. Little is known regarding racial disparities in TBI patients. The objective of this study was to investigate the association of race on mortality in patients with moderate to severe isolated TBI.

Methods: The Los Angeles County Trauma System database, consisting of admissions from five Level I and eight Level II trauma centers, was queried for all patients with isolated moderate to severe TBI admitted between 1998 and 2005. Demographics and mortality were compared between races: Asian, African American, Hispanic, White, and Other. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine the relationship between race and mortality.

Results: A total of 17,977 (23.8% female, 76.2% male) severe TBI patients were evaluated. Of this study population, 7.1% were Asian, 13.5% were African American, 42.3% were Hispanic, 32.5% were White, and 4.7% where classified as Other. Overall, Asians (adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] 1.4; 95% CI: 1.14-1.71, P = 0.001) had a significantly higher risk in mortality when compared with Whites. Surprisingly, neither African Americans (AOR 1.02; 95% CI: 0.87-1.2, P = 0.82), nor Hispanics (AOR 1.00; 95% CI: 0.89-1.13, P > 0.9) were at increased risk of death compared to their White counterparts.

Conclusion: This data supports the hypothesis that race may play a role in mortality in moderate to severe TBI. However, only Asians were at higher risk for death.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Aged
  • Brain Injuries / ethnology*
  • Brain Injuries / mortality*
  • Female
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Whites