Are Neighborhood Conditions Associated with Surgical Delays and Meniscus Tears in Children and Adolescents Undergoing ACL Reconstruction?

Samuel I. Rosenberg, Abraham J. Ouweleen, Tyler B. Hall, Neeraj M. Patel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

BackgroundMarkers of a patient's social determinants of health, including healthcare insurance and median household income based on ZIP Code, have been associated with the interval between injury and ACL reconstruction (ACLR) as well as the presence of concomitant meniscus tears in children and adolescents. However, the aforementioned surrogate indicators of a patient's social determinants of health may not reflect all socioeconomic and healthcare resources affecting the care of ACL injuries in children and adolescents. The use of multivariate indices such as the Child Opportunity Index (COI) may help to better identify patients at risk for increased risk for delay between ACL injury and surgery, as well as the incidence of meniscus tears at the time of surgery. The COI is a summative measure of 29 indicators that reflect neighborhood opportunities across three domains: education, health and environment, and social and economic factors. COI scores range from 0 to 100 (100 being the highest possible score), as well as five categorical scores (very low, low, moderate, high, and very high) based on quintile rankings.Questions/purposesTo investigate the relationship between neighborhood conditions and the treatment of ACL injuries in children and adolescents via the COI, we asked: (1) Is a lower COI score associated with a longer delay between ACL injury and surgery? (2) Does a higher proportion of patients with lower COI scores have meniscus tears at the time of ACLR?MethodsIn this retrospective, comparative study, we considered data from 565 patients, 18 years or younger, who underwent primary ACLR at an urban, tertiary children's hospital between 2011 and 2021. Of these patients, 5% (31 of 565) did not have a clearly documented date of injury, 2% (11 of 565) underwent revision reconstructions, and 1% (5 of 565) underwent intentionally delayed or staged procedures. Because we specifically sought to compare patients who had low or very low COI scores (lowest two quintiles) with those who had high or very high scores (highest two quintiles), we excluded 18% (103 of 565) of patients with moderate scores. Ultimately, 73% (415 of 565) of patients with COI scores in either the top or bottom two quintiles were included. Patient addresses at the time of surgery were used to determine the COI score. There were no differences between the groups in terms of gender. However, patients with high or very high COI scores had a lower median (IQR) age (15 years [2.6] versus 17 years [1.8]; p < 0.001) and BMI (23 kg/m2[6.1] versus 25 kg/m2[8.8]; p < 0.001), were more commonly privately insured (62% [117 of 188] versus 22% [51 of 227]; p < 0.001), and had a higher proportion of patients identifying as White (67% [126 of 188] versus 6.2% [14 of 227]; p < 0.001) compared with patients with low or very low COI scores. Medical records were reviewed for demographic, preoperative, and intraoperative data. Univariate analyses focused on the relationship of the COI and interval between injury and surgery, frequency of concomitant meniscus tears, and frequency of irreparable meniscus tears treated with partial meniscectomy. Multivariable regression analyses were used to determine factors that were independently associated with delayed surgery (longer than 60 and 90 days after injury), presence of concomitant meniscal injuries, and performance of meniscectomy. Multivariable models included insurance and race or ethnicity to determine whether COI was independently associative after accounting for these variables.ResultsPatients with a high or very high COI score had surgery earlier than those with a low or very low COI score (median [IQR] 53 days [53] versus 97 days [104]; p < 0.001). After adjusting for insurance and race/ethnicity, we found that patients with a low or very low COI score were more likely than patients with a high or very high COI score to have surgery more than 60 days after injury (OR 2.1 [95% CI 1.1 to 4.0]; p = 0.02) or more than 90 days after injury (OR 1.8 [95% CI 1.1 to 3.4]; p = 0.04). Furthermore, patients with low or very low COI scores were more likely to have concomitant meniscus tears (OR 1.6 [95% CI 1.1 to 2.5]; p = 0.04) compared with patients with high or very high COI scores. After controlling for insurance, race/ethnicity, time to surgery, and other variables, there was no association between COI and meniscectomy (OR 1.6 [95% CI 0.9 to 2.8]; p = 0.12) or presence of a chondral injury (OR 1.7 [95% CI 0.7 to 3.9]; p = 0.20).ConclusionAs the COI score is independently associated with a delay between ACL injury and surgery as well as the incidence of meniscus tears at the time of surgery, this score can be useful in identifying patients and communities at risk for disparate care after ACL injury. The COI score or similar metrics can be incorporated into medical records to identify at-risk patients and dedicate appropriate resources for efficient care. Additionally, neighborhoods with a low COI score may benefit from improvements in the availability of additional and/or improved resources. Future studies should focus on the relationship between the COI score and long-term patient-reported functional outcomes after ACL injury, identification of the specific timepoints in care that lead to delayed surgery for those with lower COI scores, and the impact of community-based interventions in improving health equity in children with ACL injury.Level of EvidenceLevel III, therapeutic study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-288
Number of pages8
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
Volume481
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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