Importance: Presenting with complicated appendicitis, which is associated with higher rates of complications and readmissions compared with simple appendicitis, may indicate delayed access to care. Although both patient-level and neighborhood-level social determinants of health are associated with access to care, little is known about the association between neighborhood factors and access to acute pediatric surgical care. Objective: To examine the association between neighborhood factors and the odds of presenting with complicated appendicitis and unplanned postdischarge health care use. Design, Setting, and Participants: A retrospective cohort study of patients aged 18 years or younger diagnosed with appendicitis was conducted. Discharge data from October 1, 2015, to September 30, 2018, were obtained from the Pediatric Health Information System Database and linked to the Child Opportunity Index (COI) 2.0 Database. Data analysis was conducted from January 1 through July 1, 2021. Exposures: The COI, a composite score of zip code neighborhood opportunity level information, divided into quintiles ranging from very low to very high opportunity. Main Outcomes and Measures: Based on COI level, the main outcome was the odds of presenting with complicated appendicitis, which was defined using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-specified International Statistical Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition, Clinical Modification codes. The secondary outcome was the odds of unplanned postdischarge health care use (emergency department visits and/or readmissions) for patients with simple and with complicated appendicitis. Results: A total of 67489 patients (mean [SD] age, 10.5 [3.9] years) had appendicitis, with 31223 cases (46.3%) being complicated. A total of 1699 patients (2.5%) were Asian, 24 234 (35.9%) were Hispanic, 4447 (6.6%) were non-Hispanic Black, and 29 234 (43.3%) were non-Hispanic White; 40 549 patients (60.1%) were male; and 32 343 (47.9%) were publicly insured. Patients living in very low-COI neighborhoods had 28% higher odds of presenting with complicated appendicitis (odds ratio, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.20-1.35) compared with those in very high-COI neighborhoods. There was no significant association between COI level and unplanned postdischarge health care use (very high COI, 20.8%; very low COI, 19.1%). Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study, children from lower-COI neighborhoods had increased odds of presenting with complicated appendicitis compared with those from higher-COI neighborhoods, even after controlling for patient-level social determinants of health factors. These findings may inform policies and programs that seek to improve access to pediatric surgical care..
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||JAMA network open|
|State||Published - Feb 16 2022|
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