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This article is the author's final published version in Health Equity, Volume 7, Issue 1, 30 November 2023, Pages 825 - 830.

The published version is available at Copyright © Priyanka Patel et al., 2023; Published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


Background and Objective: There is extensive literature to support eliminating race-based risk stratification. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) calculator, used to predict risk of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), includes race as a variable. We sought to investigate how utilizing race in determination of risk for BPD may lead to inequitable care.

Methods: The study included a retrospective cohort of infants born <30 weeks gestation between January 2016 and February 2022. The primary outcome was the difference in predictive risk of BPD for non-Hispanic Black compared to non-Hispanic White infants. The secondary outcome was the disparity in theoretical administration of post-natal corticosteroids when the calculator was applied to the cohort. Analysis included paired T-tests and Chi-Square.

Results: Of the 273 infants studied, 154 were non-Hispanic Black (56%). There was no difference between the groups in gestation or respiratory support on day of life (DOL) 14 or 28. The predicted risk of moderate or severe BPD in non-Hispanic White babies was greater than non-Hispanic Black babies on both DOL 14 and 28 (p<0.01). When applied retrospectively to the cohort, the calculator resulted in differences in corticosteroid administration (risk >40%—non-Hispanic White 51.3% vs. non-Hispanic Black 35.7%, p=0.010; risk >50%—non-Hispanic White 42.9% vs. non-Hispanic Black 29.9%, p=0.026).

Conclusion: When applied to our study cohort, the calculator resulted in a reduction in the predicted risk of BPD in non-Hispanic Black infants. If utilized to guide treatment, the calculator can potentially lead to disparities in care for non-Hispanic Black infants.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.