Recent racial/ethnic disparities in stroke hospitalizations and outcomes for young adults in Florida, 2001-2006

Elizabeth Barnett Pathak, Michael A Sloan
Neuroepidemiology 2009, 32 (4): 302-11

BACKGROUND: Black-white disparities in stroke mortality are well documented, but few recent studies have examined racial/ethnic disparities in stroke hospitalizations among young adults. We analyzed recent (2001-2006) trends in stroke hospitalizations and hospital case-fatality for black, Hispanic, and white adults aged 25-49 years in Florida.

METHODS: Hospitalization rates were calculated using population estimates from the census, and hospital discharges with a primary diagnosis of stroke (ICD-9-CM 430, 431, 434, 436) (n = 16,317). Multivariate logistic regression modeling was used to examine racial/ethnic disparities in stroke mortality prior to discharge, after adjustment for patient sociodemographics, stroke subtype, risk factors, and comorbidities.

RESULTS: Age-adjusted stroke hospitalization rates for blacks were over 3 times higher than rates for whites, while rates for Hispanics were slightly higher than rates for whites. Hemorrhagic strokes were proportionally greater among Hispanics compared with blacks and whites (p < 0.0001). Blacks were most likely to have diagnosed hypertension (62.3%), morbid obesity (10.9%) or drug abuse (13.6%). Whites were most likely to have diagnosed hyperlipidemia (21.0%), alcohol abuse (9.5%), and to be smokers (30.6%). The in-hospital fatality rate for all strokes was highest among blacks (10.0%) compared with whites (9.0%) and Hispanics (8.2%). After adjustment for age, gender, insurance status, and all diagnosed risk factors and comorbidities, the black excess was no longer observed [odds ratio (OR) 1.01, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.88-1.15, p = 0.93]. However, the Hispanic advantage in case-fatality was strengthened (OR 0.66, 95% CI 0.55-0.79, p < 0.0001). Separate case-fatality analyses for ischemic versus hemorrhagic strokes yielded similar results.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study found a strong and persistent black-white disparity in stroke hospitalization rates for young adults. In contrast, rates were similar for Hispanics and whites. Multivariate adjustment explained the 15% excess case-fatality for blacks; the short-term mortality advantage among Hispanics was strengthened after adjustment.

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