Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Delayed Diagnosis of Appendicitis Among Children.
Year of Publication
2020 Sep 29
<p><strong>BACKGROUND: </strong>Appendicitis is the most common surgical condition in pediatric emergency department (ED) patients. Prompt diagnosis can reduce morbidity, including appendiceal perforation. The goal of this study was to measure racial/ethnic differences in rates of: 1) appendiceal perforation; 2) delayed diagnosis of appendicitis; 3) diagnostic imaging during prior visit(s).</p>
<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>3-year multicenter (7 EDs) retrospective cohort study of children diagnosed with appendicitis using the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network Registry. Delayed diagnosis was defined as having at least one prior ED visit within 7 days preceding appendicitis diagnosis. We performed multivariable logistic regression to measure associations of race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic [NH]-white, NH-Black, Hispanic, Other) with: 1) appendiceal perforation; 2) delayed diagnosis of appendicitis; 3) diagnostic imaging during prior visit(s).</p>
<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>Of 7298 patients with appendicitis and documented race/ethnicity, 2567 (35.2%) had appendiceal perforation. In comparison to NH-whites, NH-Black children had higher likelihood of perforation (36.5% vs. 34.9%; aOR 1.21 [95% CI 1.01, 1.45]). 206 (2.8%) had a delayed diagnosis of appendicitis. NH-Black children were more likely to have delayed diagnoses (4.7% vs. 2.0%; aOR 1.81 [1.09, 2.98]. Eighty-nine (43.2%) patients with delayed diagnosis had abdominal imaging during their prior visits. In comparison to NH-whites, NH-Black children were less likely to undergo any imaging (28.2% vs. 46.2%; aOR 0.41 [0.18, 0.96]), or definitive imaging (e.g. US/CT/MRI) (10.3% vs. 35.9%; aOR 0.15 [0.05, 0.50]) during prior visits.</p>
<p><strong>CONCLUSIONS: </strong>In this multicenter cohort, there were racial disparities in appendiceal perforation. There were also racial disparities in rates of delayed diagnosis of appendicitis and diagnostic imaging during prior ED visits. These disparities in diagnostic imaging may lead to delays in appendicitis diagnosis, and thus, may contribute to higher perforation rates demonstrated among minority children.</p>
Acad Emerg Med