Racial And Socioeconomic Differences Affect Outcomes in Elderly Burn Patients

Kathleen S. Romanowski, Yunshu Zhou, Patrick Ten Eyck, Anthony Baldea, James J. Gallagher, Colette Galet, Yuk Ming Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Race and socioeconomic status influence outcomes for adult and pediatric burn patients, yet the impact of these factors on elderly patients (Medicare eligible, 65 years of age) remains unknown. Methods: Data pooled from three verified burn centers from 2004 to 2014 were reviewed retrospectively. Age, race, gender, percent total body surface area (%TBSA) burn, mortality, length of stay (LOS), LOS per %TBSA burn, and zip code which provided Census data on race, poverty, and education levels within a community were collected. Data were analyzed using logistic and generalized linear models in SAS version 9.4 (SAS Institute, Cary, NC, USA). Results: Our population was mainly Caucasian (63%), African American (18%), Hispanic (7.6%), and Asian (3.5%). Mean age was 76.3 ± 8.3 years, 52.5% were male. Mean %TBSA was 9 ± 13.8%; 15% of the patients sustained an inhalation injury. The mortality rate was 14.4%. Inhalation injury was significantly associated with mortality and discharge to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) (p < 0.05). Race was significantly associated with socioeconomic disparities and affected LOS/TBSA, but not discharge to SNF or mortality on univariate analysis. Poverty level, education level, and insurance status (others vs. public) independently predicted SNF discharge, while median income and insurance type independently predicted LOS/TBSA. Conclusion: In this elderly cohort, race did not predict standard markers of burn outcome (mortality and discharge to SNF). Socioeconomic status independently predicted LOS and discharge to SNF, suggesting a relationship between socioeconomic status and recovery from a burn injury. Better understanding of racial and socioeconomic disparities is necessary to provide equitable treatment of all patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1177-1182
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Burn
  • older adults
  • race
  • socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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