Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Prevalence of Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders among Older Adults with Severe Traumatic Brain Injury.



Older adults suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) are subject to higher injury burden and mortality. Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders are used to provide care aligned with patient wishes, but they may not be equitably distributed across racial/ethnic groups. We examined racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence of DNR orders at hospital admission in older patients with severe TBI.


We conducted a retrospective cohort study using the National Trauma Databank (NTDB) between 2007 to 2016. We examined patients ≥ 65 years with severe TBI. For our primary aim, the exposure was race/ethnicity and outcome was the presence of a documented DNR at hospital admission. We conducted an exploratory analysis of hospital outcomes including hospital mortality, discharge to hospice, and healthcare utilization (intracranial pressure monitor placement, hospital LOS, and duration of mechanical ventilation).


Compared to White patients, Black patients (OR 0.48, 95% CI 0.35-0.64), Hispanic patients (OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.40-0.70), and Asian patients (OR 0.63, 95% CI 0.44-0.90) had decreased odds of having a DNR order at hospital admission. Patients with DNRs had increased odds of hospital mortality (OR 2.16, 95% CI 1.94-2.42), discharge to hospice (OR 2.08, 95% CI 1.75-2.46), shorter hospital LOS (-2.07 days, 95% CI -3.07 to -1.08) and duration of mechanical ventilation (-1.09 days, 95% CI -1.52 to -0.67). There was no significant difference in the utilization of ICP monitoring (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.78-1.12).


We found significant racial and ethnic differences in the utilization of DNR orders among older patients with severe TBI. Additionally. DNR orders at hospital admission were associated with increased in-hospital mortality, increased hospice utilization, and decreased healthcare utilization. Future studies should examine mechanisms underlying race-based differences in DNR utilization.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Hatfield, Jordan, Megan Fah, Alex Girden, Brianna Mills, Tetsu Ohnuma, Krista Haines, Julien Cobert, Jordan Komisarow, et al. (2022). Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Prevalence of Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders among Older Adults with Severe Traumatic Brain Injury. Journal of intensive care medicine. p. 8850666221103780. 10.1177/08850666221103780 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/25387.

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Tetsu Ohnuma

Assistant Professor in Anesthesiology

Krista Lynn Haines

Assistant Professor of Surgery

Jordan Komisarow

Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery

Karthik Raghunathan

Associate Professor of Anesthesiology

Dr. Karthik Raghunathan is an Associate Professor with Tenure in the Department of Anesthesiology, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Population Health Sciences, at the Duke University School of Medicine and is a Staff Physician at the Durham Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. He is co-director of the Critical care And Perioperative population hEalth Research (CAPER) Program. 

In addition to clinical practice as an anesthesiologist and intensive care physician, Dr. Raghunathan is an epidemiologist and health services researcher with over $2 Million in funding from Federal, Industry, and Non-Profit entities since 2015. He co-directs the Critical care and Perioperative Population Health Research (CAPER) program, generating and disseminating evidence to inform clinical practice guidelines.

His studies focus on: a) the comparative effectiveness and safety of procedures and medications used for acute postoperative pain management, fluid resuscitation during surgery and intensive care; b) the implementation and effectiveness of nonpharmacologic treatments, such as music medicine and peripheral neuromodulation, and c) reducing race, sex, and income-based inequities in treatments and outcomes.

Dr. Raghunathan collaborates with colleagues within Duke, as well as colleagues at Academically affiliated other VA Healthcare Systems. He welcomes collaboration and can be reached at kr118@duke.edu. 


Vijay Krishnamoorthy

Associate Professor of Anesthesiology

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