Purpose: To critically analyze racial and ethnic disparities in acute outcomes of life-threatening injury in the United States (US).
Design: Integrative review of literature.
Methods: A search of Medline (1966–2005) and CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature; 1982–2002) scientific literature databases was undertaken to identify research aimed at correlating minority race and ethnicity to acute outcomes of life-threatening injury in the US.
Results: Although injury is the leading cause of death for adults 15 to 44 years of age, racial and ethnic health disparities in acute outcomes of life-threatening injury have been relatively unexplored: only seven of 352 (2%) studies. The findings from these studies were mixed. Four studies indicated significant relationships between race or ethnicity to acute outcomes in injury morbidity and mortality, but three studies showed no significant relationships between these variables. Other variables associated with health disparities, such as income and education, were rarely (income) or not (education) addressed.
Conclusions: These inconclusive results indicate the need for more research aimed at investigating racial and ethnic disparities in acute outcomes of life-threatening injury.