Background: Mexican-Americans (MAs) have shown lower post-stroke mortality compared to non-hispanic whites (NHWs). Limited evidence suggests race/ethnic differences exist in intensive care unit (ICU) admissions following stroke. Our objective was to investigate the association of ethnicity with admission to the ICU following stroke.
Methods: Cases of intracerebral hemorrhage and acute ischemic stroke were prospectively ascertained as part of the Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi (BASIC) project for the period of January 2000 through December 2009. Logistic regression models fitted within the generalized additive model framework were used to test associations between ethnicity and ICU admission and potential confounders. An interaction term between age and ethnicity was investigated in the final model.
Results: A total 1,464 cases were included in analysis. MAs were younger, more likely to have diabetes, and less likely to have atrial fibrillation, health insurance, or high school diploma than NHWs. On unadjusted analysis, there was a trend toward MAs being more likely to be admitted to ICU than NHWs (34.6 vs 30.3 %; OR = 1.22; 95 % CI 0.98-1.52; p = 0.08). However, on adjusted analysis, no overall association between MA ethnicity and ICU admission (OR = 1.13; 95 % CI 0.85-1.50) was found. When an interaction term for age and ethnicity was added to this model, there was only borderline evidence for effect modification by age of the ethnicity/ICU relationship (p = 0.16).
Conclusions: No overall association between ethnicity and ICU admission was observed in this community. ICU utilization alone does not likely explain ethnic differences in survival following stroke between MAs and NHWs.