Disparities in traumatic brain injury
outcomes for ethnic minorities and the uninsured have previously been demonstrated; however, outcomes in undocumented immigrants have not been examined. We wanted to determine whether ethnicity
, and documentation
status served as risk factors for disparities in traumatic brain injury
outcomes between undocumented immigrants and documented residents.
Patients diagnosed with traumatic brain injury
admitted to the surgical/trauma ICU at a level 1 trauma center serving a large immigrant population in New York City from 2009 to 2016.
Four-hundred seventy-one traumatic brain injury
patients requiring surgical/trauma ICU admission.
Measurements and Main Results:
Undocumented immigrants constituted 29% of the population, were younger (39 vs 57 yr old, respectively; p
< 0.0001), Hispanic (83%; p
< 0.0001), and uninsured (87%; p
< 0.0001). Falls resulted in the majority of traumatic brain injuries in the total population, however, undocumented immigrants were almost twice as likely to be assaulted (p
= 0.0032). There was no difference in presence of midline shifts, Injury Severity Score, Glasgow Coma Score, hypotension, hypoxia, and pupillary reactions between undocumented immigrants and documented residents. Undocumented immigrants presented with significantly more effaced basilar cisterns (p
= 0.0008). There was no difference in hospital care between undocumented immigrants and documented residents as determined by emergency department to surgical/trauma ICU transfer times (p
= 0.967). Undocumented immigrants were more likely to be discharged home (53% vs 33%, respectively; p
= 0.0009) and less likely to be sent to rehabilitation (25% vs 32%, respectively; p
= 0.0009). After adjusting length of stay and mortality
for covariates, undocumented immigrants had shorter length of stay (p
< 0.05) and there was no difference in hospital mortality
between undocumented immigrants and documented residents.
Undocumented immigrants with traumatic brain injuries were more likely to be younger, have shorter length of stay, and experience similar mortality
rates to documented residents. Social economic status may play a role in events prior to hospitalization and likely does in disposition outcomes.