The Impact Of Socially Stigmatized Preexisting Conditions On Outcomes After Injury

Abstract [from journal]

Background: Socially stigmatized preexisting conditions (SSPECs), including alcohol use disorder (AUD), drug use disorder (DUD), and major psychiatric illness, may lead to provider minimization of patient symptoms and have been associated with negative outcomes. However, the impact of SSPECs on failure to rescue (FTR) has not been evaluated. We hypothesized that SSPEC patients would have increased probability of complications, mortality, and FTR.

Materials and methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of the 2015 National Trauma Data Bank, including patients aged ≥18 y and excluding burn victims, patients with Injury Severity Score <9, and non-SSPEC patients with drug or alcohol withdrawal. We defined SSPECs using the National Trauma Data Bank's comorbidity recording codes for AUD, DUD, and major psychiatric illnesses. We built multivariable logistic regression models to determine the relationships between SSPECs and complications, mortality, and FTR.

Results: We included 365,801 patients (62% male, 76% White, median age 56 y [interquartile range 35-74], median Injury Severity Score 10 [interquartile range 9-17]). After adjusting for patient and injury characteristics, SSPEC patients were more likely to have complications (odds ratio [OR] 1.75, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.70-1.79), less likely to die (OR 0.43, CI 0.38-0.48), and less likely to have FTR (OR 0.34, CI 0.26-0.43). SSPEC patients had a significantly higher complication rate (12.4% versus 7.2%; P < 0.001). After excluding drug or alcohol withdrawal, the complication rate remained significantly higher for SSPEC patients (9.3% versus 7.2%; P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Although SSPEC patients have lower odds of mortality and FTR, they are at higher probability of complications after injury. Further investigation into the causality behind the higher complications despite lower mortality and FTR is warranted.