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Neurology AdvisorChronic Pain After Trauma Greater in Black and Hispanic vs. White Patients

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Post-Traumatic Pain: A Lingering Concern

Recent findings highlight racial and ethnic disparities in pain severity reported by survivors of traumatic injury, warranting further investigation into the underlying causes. The study analyzed data from the Consequences of Traumatic Injury (COTI) project conducted between 2017 and 2020, showing that Black and Hispanic patients experienced more severe pain at 12-month follow-up compared to White patients.

HCN Medical Memo
These findings underscore the pressing need to acknowledge and address the racial and ethnic disparities in pain management following traumatic injury. The implications are not merely academic; they have real-world consequences for patient care, especially in pain management strategies that could inadvertently perpetuate these disparities.

Key Points:
  • Data Source: The study is based on data from the COTI study conducted at Baylor University Medical Center and the University of Pennsylvania trauma centers.
  • Participants: A total of 650 adults aged 18-65 years participated, including 247 Black, 218 White, 166 Hispanic, and 19 other race/ethnicity individuals.
  • Pain Severity: Black and Hispanic patients reported higher pain severity scores at 12 months than their White counterparts.
  • Statistical Significance: In the fully adjusted model, pain severity was significantly associated with Black ethnicity at 3 months (β, 0.80; P =.003) and with both Black and Hispanic ethnicities at 12 months (β, 0.63; P =.03; β, 0.61; P =.04) compared to White.
  • Physician Perspectives: Additional research is crucial to identify interventions that can address these disparities, taking into account clinical, socioeconomic, and cultural factors.

According to the CDC, more than 41 million emergency department visits each year in the United States are related to injuries, many of which result in acute or chronic pain.

Additional Points:
  • Mean Stats: The mean age of participants was 40.0 years, and the mean duration of hospitalization was 6.6 days.
  • Sources of Injury: The most common causes of injury were motor vehicle accidents (42.0%), falls (34.2%), and interpersonal violence (25.5%).

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