Racial/Ethnic disparities in mortality risk among US veterans with traumatic brain injury.

Egede LE, Dismuke C, Echols C.
Am J Public Health. 2012 May;102 Suppl 2:S266-71. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300176. Epub 2011 Nov 28.

SOURCE:   Center for Disease Prevention and Health Interventions for Diverse Populations, Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Charleston, SC, USA. egedel@musc.edu

OBJECTIVES:  We examined the association of race/ethnicity with mortality risk in a national cohort of US veterans clinically diagnosed with traumatic brain injury.

METHODS:  Between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2006, we obtained data from a national cohort study of 7885 non-Hispanic White, 1748 Non-Hispanic Black, 314 Hispanic, and 4743 other or missing race/ethnicity veterans clinically diagnosed with traumatic brain injury in Veterans Affairs medical centers and community-based outpatient clinics.

RESULTS:  Overall mortality at 48 months was 6.7% in Hispanic, 2.9% in non-Hispanic White, and 2.7% in non-Hispanic Black veterans. Compared with non-Hispanic White, Hispanic ethnicity was positively associated with a higher mortality risk (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.33; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.49, 3.64) in the race/ethnicity-only adjusted model. After adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics and comorbidities, Hispanic ethnicity continued to be positively associated (HR = 1.61; 95% CI = 1.00, 2.58) with a higher mortality risk relative to non-Hispanic White ethnicity.

CONCLUSIONS:  Hispanic ethnicity is positively associated with higher mortality risk among veterans clinically diagnosed with traumatic brain injury. More research is needed to understand the reasons for this disparity