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Disparities Associated with Discharge Patterns in Firearm-Associated Ocular Trauma.

JAMA Ophthalmology 2023 June 2
IMPORTANCE: Firearm injuries are associated with devastating visual outcomes. Several studies have demonstrated disparities in trauma care and discharge to rehabilitation and other advanced care facilities (ACFs) due to race and ethnicity and insurance status. The identification of possible disparities in disposition of patients admitted with firearms-associated ocular injuries (FAOIs) is a crucial step in moving toward health equity.

OBJECTIVE: To describe disposition patterns following admission for FAOI trauma.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This retrospective analysis of National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) from 2008 through 2014 used hospitalized trauma cases from over 900 US facilities detailed in the NTDB. Participants included patients admitted with ocular injuries. Statistical analysis was conducted between April 16, 2017, and December 15, 2021.

EXPOSURE: Firearm injuries.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Patients admitted with FAOIs were identified using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification diagnostic codes and E-codes. Demographic data, location, injury type and severity, and insurance status were documented. The primary outcome was the odds of discharge to ACFs.

RESULTS: A total of 8715 of 235 254 firearms injuries involved the eye (3.7%). Of the 8715 included patients, 7469 were male (85.7%), 3050 were African American (35.0%), and 4065 White (46.6%), with a mean (SD) age of 33.8 (16.9) years. Common payments were government insurance (31.5%), self-paid insurance (29.4%), and commercial insurance plans (22.8%). Frequent dispositions were home (48.8%) and ACF (20.5%). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that the following factors were associated with the highest odds of discharge to an ACF: hospital stays 6 days or longer (odds ratio [OR], 3.05; 95% CI, 2.56-3.63; P < .001), age 65 years or older (OR, 2.94; 95% CI, 1.94-4.48; P < .001), associated traumatic brain injury (OR, 2.32; 95% CI, 1.94-2.78; P < .001), severe traumatic brain injury (OR, 2.10; 95% CI, 1.79-2.46; P < .001), and very severe Injury Severity Score (OR, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.88-2.62; P < .001). White race (OR, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.71-2.33; P < .001) was associated with higher odds than Medicare insurance (OR, 1.64; 95% CI, 1.16-2.31; P = .01).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: These findings suggest that older, more severely injured, Medicare-insured, or White patients have higher odds of ACF placement than younger, less severely injured, otherwise insured, and Black and Hispanic patients. This study is limited by its retrospective nature and the study team was unable to explore the basis for these disposition differences. Nevertheless, this work highlights that disparities may exist in disposition after FAOIs that may limit the rehabilitation potential of specific populations.

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