Systematic Review of Disparities in Care and Outcomes in Pediatric Appendectomy

Martha Conley E. Ingram, Kristen Calabro, Stephanie Polites, Courtney McCracken, Gudrun Aspelund, Barrie S. Rich, Robert L. Ricca, Roshni Dasgupta, David H. Rothstein, Mehul V. Raval*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: The impact of social, racial, and economic inequities on health and surgical outcomes for children is poorly described. Methods: A systematic review using search terms related to disparities in care of pediatric appendicitis identified 20 titles and narrowed to 11 full texts. Nine retrospective studies were analyzed, representing 350,408 cases treated across the United States from 1983 to 2010. Outcomes included length of stay (LOS), appendiceal perforation rate (AP), laparoscopic versus open approach, and rate of misdiagnosis. Results: The most frequently reported outcomes were LOS (six of nine studies) and AP (six of nine studies). AP was higher for young children (48% for <6 versus 25% for >10), those in rural settings (42% versus 26% in urban settings), and patients receiving care at children's hospitals (35% versus 22% at nonchildren's hospitals). Longer LOS was associated with young age in three studies (2-5 d for age <10 y versus 1-3 d for age >11 y), race in four studies (1.5-3 d for African American children versus 1-2 d for other races), and lower family income in two studies (2-4 d versus 1-3 d for highest income). Inequitable use of laparoscopy, time to surgery, and rates of misdiagnosis were also reported to be associated with age and race. Conclusions: Although limited, the existing literature suggests that social, racial, and economic inequalities impact management and outcomes in pediatric appendicitis. More studies are needed to better describe and mitigate disparities in the surgical care of children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-49
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Appendicitis
  • Children's health care
  • Disparity
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Surgical outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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