Geographic and socioeconomic predictors of perforated appendicitis: A national Canadian cohort study
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BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Appendiceal perforation significantly impacts the outcomes of pediatric appendicitis. While socioeconomic status affects perforation risk in the United States, these effects should dissipate in a universal healthcare system. The specific spatial patterns associated with perforation have also never been delineated. This study examined the effect of geography and SES on appendiceal perforation in Canada's universal healthcare system. METHODS: Using administrative databases, Canadian children with appendicitis from 2008 to 2015 were identified. Perforation rates were examined based on rurality, distance from treating hospital, and SES. A spatial analysis identified neighborhoods with high perforation rates. Predictors of high perforation clusters were determined using logistic regression. RESULTS: Over the study period, 43,055 children with appendicitis were identified. The overall perforation rate was 31.5%. Rural neighborhoods and those >125 km from the treating hospital were more likely to be within a high perforation cluster (OR 2.39, 95%CI 1.31-4. 02, p = 0.001; and OR 2.55, 95%CI 1.35-4.47, p = 0.001, respectively). Children in high perforation clusters were more likely to suffer complications. SES was not associated with perforation rates. CONCLUSIONS: In this population-based study, appendiceal perforation was not a function of SES, but a spatial phenomenon. These findings highlight disparities in access to surgical care in Canada. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Prognosis study, level II.
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