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Spinal Trauma Mortality Rate Higher for Non-White, Uninsured Patients

Written by  Laura Dyrda | Thursday, 25 October 2012 14:59
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Two studies were presented at the North American Spine Society annual meeting that discussed how demographics impact treatment for spinal trauma.
A cohort study of 28,429 patients with fractures for the cervical or thoracolumbar spine were examined in "The Influence of Insurance Status on the Surgical Treatment of Acute Spinal Fractures." The researchers found a higher rate of surgery with patients who had spinal cord injury, insurance, blunt trauma, transfers from lower acuity hospitals and those treated at for-profit and teaching hospitals.

A second larger study reviewed 75,351 cases of spinal trauma in "Patient Demographics, Insurance Status, Race and Ethnicity as Predictors of Morbidity and Mortality Following Spinal Trauma: A Study Utilizing the National Trauma Data Bank." Among the patients studied, 64 percent were male, 9 percent were black/African American and 38 percent had private or commercial insurance while 12.5 percent lacked insurance. The mortality rate was 6 percent and 16 percent reported complications.

The study found predictors of mortality and complications were increased with:

•    Older age
•    Male gender
•    Injury severity
•    High blood pressure

Non-white patients and uninsured patients were at a higher risk of mortality. Uninsured patients also had fewer days in the hospital, ICU days and ventilator time.

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