June 1, 2015

Ethnic Differences in Withdrawal of Life Support After Intracerebral Hemorrhage

Kristen M. Shaw D.N.P., Matthew J. Gallek Ph.D., Kate G. Sheppard Ph.D., Leslie Ritter Ph.D., Megan A. Vento B.S., Susan M. Asai M.S.N., and Kazuma Nakagawa M.D.

Hawaii Journal of Medicine & Public Health

Minorities are less likely to decide on withdrawal of life support (WOLS) after acute severe illness. However, the decision-making process for WOLS after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) among Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (NHOPI) has not been described. To address this gap in the literature, a retrospective study was conducted on consecutive spontaneous ICH patients admitted to a tertiary center in Honolulu between 2006 and 2010. The occurrence of WOLS and time-to-WOLS were the outcome measures. Unadjusted and multivariable logistic regression models were performed to determine associations between NHOPI ethnicity and WOLS. This study assessed 396 patients (18% NHOPI, 63% Asians, 15% non-Hispanic whites [NHW], 4% others) with ICH. NHOPI was associated with lower rate of WOLS than NHW in the univariate analysis (OR 0.35, 95% CI: 0.15, 0.80). However, NHOPI ethnicity was no longer significant when adjusted for age (OR 0.59, 95% CI: 0.25, 1.43) and in the fully adjusted model (OR 0.68, 95% CI: 0.20, 2.39). Although NHOPI with ICH were initially perceived to have less WOLS compared to NHW, this observed difference was largely driven by the younger age of NHOPI rather than from underlying cultural differences that are inherent to their ethnicity.

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