The role of acuity of illness at presentation in early mortality in black children with acute myeloid leukemia.

Authors: Winestone LE, Getz KD, Miller TP, Wilkes JJ, Sack L, Li Y, Huang YS, Seif AE, Bagatell R, Fisher BT, Epstein AJ, Aplenc R


Am J Hematol. 2017 Feb;92(2):141-148

Black patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) experience higher mortality than White patients. We compared induction mortality, acuity of illness prior to chemotherapy, and insurance type between Black and White patients to assess whether acuity of presentation mediates the disparity. Within a retrospective cohort of 1,122 children with AML treated with two courses of standard induction chemotherapy between 2004 and 2014 in the Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS) database, the association between race (Black versus White) and inpatient mortality during induction was examined. Intensive Care Unit (ICU)-level resource utilization during the first 72 hours following admission for initial AML chemotherapy was evaluated as a potential mediator. The total effect of race on mortality during Induction I revealed a strong association (unadjusted HR 2.75, CI: 1.18, 6.41). Black patients had a significantly higher unadjusted risk of requiring ICU-level resources within the first 72 hours after initial presentation (17% versus 11%; RR 1.52, CI: 1.04, 2.24). Mediation analyses revealed the indirect effect of race through acuity accounted for 61% of the relative excess mortality during Induction I. Publicly insured patients experienced greater induction mortality than privately insured patients regardless of race. Black patients with AML have significantly greater risk of induction mortality and are at increased risk for requiring ICU-level resources soon after presentation. Higher acuity amongst Black patients accounts for a substantial portion of the relative excess mortality during Induction I. Targeting factors affecting acuity of illness at presentation may lessen racial disparities in AML induction mortality.



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