Racial Disparities at Mixed-Race and Minority Hospitals: Treatment of African American Males With High-Grade Splenic Injuries

Christopher J. Tignanelli, Bradly Watarai, Yunhua Fan, Ashley Petersen, Mark Hemmila, Lena Napolitano, Stephanie Jarosek, Anthony Charles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Racial and socioeconomic disparities in health access and outcomes for many conditions is well known. However, for time-sensitive high-acuity diseases such as traumatic injuries, disparities in access and outcomes should be significantly diminished. Our primary objective was to characterize racial disparities across majority, mixed-race, and minority hospitals for African American ([AA] vs White) males with high-grade splenic injuries. Methods: Data from the National Trauma Data Bank were utilized from 2007 to 2015; 24 855 AA or White males with high-grade splenic injuries were included. Multilevel mixed-effects regression analysis was used to evaluate disparities in outcomes and resource allocation. Results: Mortality was significantly higher for AA males at mixed-race (OR 1.6; 95% CI 1.3-2.1; P <.001) and minority (OR 2.1; 95% CI 1.5-3.0; P <.001) hospitals, but not at majority hospitals. At minority hospitals, AA males were significantly less likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit (OR 0.7; 95% CI, 0.49-0.97; P =.04) and experienced a significantly longer time to surgery (IRR 1.5; P =.02). Minority hospitals were significantly more likely to have failures from angiographic embolization requiring operative intervention (OR 2.2, P =.009). At both types of nonmajority hospitals, AA males with penetrating injuries were more likely to be managed with angiography (mixed-race hospitals: OR 1.7; P =.046 vs minority hospitals: OR 1.6; P =.08). Discussion: While multiple studies have shown that minority hospitals have increased mortality compared to majority hospitals, this study found this disparity only existed for AAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-295
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was funded by a grant awarded to CJT from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Healthy African American Men through Partnerships (CHAAMPS—NIH U54MD008620).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • racial disparities
  • splenic trauma
  • trauma systems

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