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. 2014 Nov;95(11):2158-66.
doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.07.399. Epub 2014 Aug 2.

Longitudinal Analysis of Hospitalization After Spinal Cord Injury: Variation Based on Race and Ethnicity


Longitudinal Analysis of Hospitalization After Spinal Cord Injury: Variation Based on Race and Ethnicity

Elham Mahmoudi et al. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. .


Objective: To examine the longitudinal effects of race/ethnicity on hospitalization among adults with spinal cord injury (SCI) in the 10-year period after initial injury.

Design: Retrospective analysis of postinjury hospitalizations among non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic African American, and Hispanic adults with SCI.

Setting: Community. Data were extracted from the 2011 National Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems database.

Participants: Patients with traumatic SCI (N= 5146; white, 3175; African American, 1396; Hispanic, 575) who received rehabilitation at one of the relevant SCI Model Systems.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Hospitalization, including rate of hospitalization, number of hospitalizations, and number of days hospitalized during the 12 months before the first-, fifth-, and tenth-year follow-up interviews for the SCI Model Systems.

Results: Significant differences were found in rates of hospitalization at 1 and 5 years postinjury, with participants from Hispanic backgrounds reporting lower rates than either whites or African Americans. At 10 years postinjury, no differences were noted in the rate of hospitalization between racial/ethnic groups; however, compared with whites (P=.011) and Hispanics (P=.051), African Americans with SCI had 13 and 16 more days of hospitalization, respectively. Compared with the first year postinjury, the rate of hospitalization declined over time among whites, African Americans, and Hispanics; however, for African Americans, the number of days hospitalized increased by 12 days (P=.036) at 10 years versus 5 years postinjury.

Conclusions: Racial/ethnic variation appears to exist in postinjury hospitalization for individuals with SCI, with Hispanics showing the lowest rates of hospitalization at 1 and 5 years postinjury and African Americans having a significantly higher number of days hospitalized at 10 years postinjury. Potential explanations for these variations are discussed, and recommendations are made for potential changes to policy and clinical care.

Keywords: Disparity; Ethnicity; Hospitalization; Race; Rehabilitation; Spinal cord injuries.

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