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Minorities & Adnominal Pain Care in EDs

Minorities & Adnominal Pain Care in EDs

Acute abdominal pain is one of the most common reasons for patients to visit the ED, but few studies have examined if there are racial and ethnic disparities for how this pain is managed. Prior research focusing on the management of acute abdominal pain in the ED setting has yielded conflicting results. Adil H. Haider, MD, MPH, FACS, and colleagues had a study published in Medical Care that sought to gain a better understanding of the potential racial and ethnic differences in the use of analgesics in the ED to manage this pain. Using data from the CDC’s National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, the investigators analyzed patients aged 18 and older who were seen for non-traumatic abdominal pain at 350 EDs over a span of about 5 years across the United States. Of the more than 6,700 ED visits included in the analysis, 61.2% of the patients were white, 20.1% were black, 14.0% were Hispanic, and 4.7% belonged to other racial or ethnic groups. The study group compared rates of analgesic medication use among these racial and ethnic groups, and then accounted for differences in patient and hospital characteristics.   Observed Disparities According to the results, white patients were most likely to receive any analgesic medication (56.8%) when compared with Hispanic patients (52.8%), black patients (50.9%), and people who were classified as other racial or ethnic groups (46.6%). “Black patients were the least likely to receive narcotic analgesics despite having similar rates of severe pain as other racial and ethnic groups,” says Dr. Haider. After adjusting for other factors, blacks, Hispanics, and patients of other races and ethnicities...
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