Contemporary Management of Appendicitis in Children.
OBJECTIVE Over 9.6 million ED visits occur annually for abdominal pain in the US, but little is known about the medical outcomes of these patients based on demographics. We aimed to identify disparities in outcomes among children presenting to the ED with abdominal pain linked to race and SES. METHODS Data from 4.2 million pediatric encounters of abdominal pain were analyzed from 43 tertiary US children's hospitals, including 2.0 million encounters in the emergency department during 2004-2011. Abdominal pain was categorized as functional or organic abdominal pain. Appendicitis (with and without perforation) was used as a surrogate for abdominal pain requiring emergent care. Multivariate analysis estimated likelihood of hospitalizations, radiologic imaging, ICU admissions, appendicitis, appendicitis with perforation, and time to surgery and hospital discharge. RESULTS Black and low income children had increased odds of perforated appendicitis (aOR, 1.42, 95% CI, 1.32- 1.53; aOR, 1.20, 95% CI 1.14 - 1.25). Blacks had increased odds of an ICU admission (aOR, 1.92, 95% CI 1.53 - 2.42) and longer lengths of stay (aHR, 0.91, 95% CI 0.86 - 0.96) than Whites. Minorities and low income also had lower rates of imaging for their appendicitis, including CT scans. The combined effect of race and income on perforated appendicitis, hospitalization, and time to surgery was greater than either separately. CONCLUSIONS Based on race and SES, disparity of health outcomes exists in the acute ED setting among children presenting with abdominal pain, with differences in appendicitis with perforation, length of stay, and time until surgery.