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The New Zealand Medical Journal

 Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 11-June-2010, Vol 123 No 1316

[full text] [PDF]

Ethnicity of severe trauma patients: results of a population-based study, Auckland, New Zealand 2004
Gowan Creamer, Ian Civil, Alex Ng, David Adams, Shas Čačala , Timothy Koelmeyer, John Thompson

Abstract


Aim
To investigate the role of Māori and Pacific ethnicity within the severe trauma and population demographics of Auckland, New Zealand.

Methods
A population-based study utilising prospectively gathered trauma databases and coronial autopsy information. Population data was derived from Statistics New Zealand resident population projections for the year 2004. The geographic boundaries of the Auckland district health boards (Waitemata DHB, Auckland DHB and Counties-Manukau DHB). Severe injury was defined as death or injury severity score more than 15. Combining data from coronial autopsy and four hospital trauma databases provided age, gender, ethnicity, mechanism, mortality and hospitalisation information for severely injured Aucklanders.

Results
Māori and Pacific had increased risk of severe injury and injury-related mortality. A major gender difference is apparent: Māori female at increased risk and Pacific female at decreased risk compared to the remaining female population; both Māori and Pacific male have high severe injury rate than the remaining population. The relative risk for severe injury (and mortality) for Māori RR=2.38 (RR=2.80) and Pacific RR=1.49 (RR=1.59) is higher than the remaining population, the highest risk (and more statistically significant) is seen in the 1529 age group (Māori RR=2.87, Pacific RR=2.57). Road traffic crashes account for the greatest proportion of injuries in all groups. Māori have relatively higher rates of hanging and assault-related injury and death; Pacific have relatively higher rates of falls and assault.

Conclusion
Ethnicity is a factor in severe injury and mortality rates in Auckland. Age is an important influence on these rates. Although mechanism of injury varies between ethnic groups, no particular mechanism of injury accounts for the overall differences between groups.

     
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