Socioeconomic Status Affects Outcomes After Severity-Stratified Traumatic Brain Injury

Krista L. Haines*, Benjamin P. Nguyen, Cory Vatsaas, Amy Alger, Kelli Brooks, Suresh K. Agarwal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Background: Socioeconomic status (SES) and race have been shown to increase the incidence of being afflicted by a traumatic brain injury (TBI) resulting in worse posthospitalization outcomes. The goal of this study was to determine the effect disparities have on in-hospital mortality, discharge to inpatient rehabilitation, hospital length of stay (LOS), and TBI procedures performed stratified by severity of TBI. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of patients with closed head injuries using the National Trauma Data Bank (2012-2015). Multivariate logistic/linear regression models were created to determine the impact of race and insurance status in groups graded by head Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS). Results: We analyzed 131,461 TBI patients from NTDB. Uninsured patients experienced greater mortality at an AIS of 5 (odds ratio [OR] = 1.052, P = 0.001). Uninsured patients had a decreased likelihood of being discharged to inpatient rehabilitation with an increasing AIS beginning from an AIS of 2 (OR = 0.987, P = 0.008) to an AIS of 5 (OR = 0.879, P < 0.001). Black patients had an increased LOS as their AIS increased from an AIS of 2 (0.153 d, P < 0.001) to 5 (0.984 d, P < 0.001) with the largest discrepancy in LOS occurring at an AIS of 5. Conclusions: Disparities in race and SES are associated with differences in mortality, LOS, and discharge to inpatient rehabilitation. Patients with more severe TBI have the greatest divergence in treatment and outcome when stratified by race and ethnicity as well as SES.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-140
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Racial disparities
  • Socioeconomic disparities
  • Trauma outcomes
  • Traumatic brain injury


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