Racial Differences in 30-Day Mortality for Pulmonary Embolism

Previous studies reported a higher incidence of in-hospital mortality for black patients who had pulmonary embolism than for white patients. This study used a large statewide database to compare 30-day mortality (defined as death within 30 days from the date of latest hospital admission) for black and white patients who were hospitalized because of pulmonary embolism.

The study cohort consisted of 15,531 discharged patients who had been treated for pulmonary embolism at 186 Pennsylvania hospitals between January 2000 and November 2002. Random-effects logistic regression was used to model 30-day mortality for black and white patients, and was adjusted for patient demographic and clinical characteristics.

Results found that the unadjusted 30-day mortality rates were 9.0 percent for white patients, 10.3 percent for blacks, and 10.9 percent for patients of other or unknown race. When adjusted for severity of disease using a validated clinical prognostic model for pulmonary embolism, black patients had 30 percent higher odds of 30-day mortality compared with white patients at the same site (adjusted odds ratio = 1.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.1,1.6). Neither insurance status nor hospital volume was a significant predictor of 30-day mortality.

The authors conclude that black patients who had pulmonary embolism had significantly higher odds of 30-day mortality compared with white patients.