Black Americans are nearly twice as likely to develop acute lung injury as white Americans, according to researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
Researchers sought to determine the incidence of ALI among black and white Americans using data collected from the National Hospital Discharge Survey, dating from 1992 through 2005. Cases of ALI were defined by the presence of respiratory failure or pulmonary edema, excluding heart failure in combination with an at-risk condition, including sepsis, pneumonia, aspiration, or trauma. The average annual incidence of ALI over the entire study period was 48 cases per 100,000 for black Americans, compared to 25.7 cases per 100,000 for white Americans.
Why black Americans have a substantially increased risk for ALI as compared to white Americans remains unclear.
Overall, in-hospital mortality among patients with ALI did not vary meaningfully by race, with 37.9% for white Americans and 36.3% for black Americans.