Health Disparities in Incisional Hernia Presentation: An Analysis of HCUP-NIS Years 2012-2014

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American Surgeon


Introduction: Incisional hernias (IH) are iatrogenically created in 400 000 new patients annually. Without repair, IH-associated complications can result in major illness and death. The health disparities literature suggests that underrepresented patients present more frequently with surgical emergencies. The health disparities associated with IH remain relatively unstudied. Methods: Inpatient admission data were obtained from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project National Inpatient Sample for 2012-2014. Patients with IH International Classification of Diseases ninth revision were included. Analyses were completed using survey specific procedures (SAS v.9.4). Type of admission within groups was compared via Rao-Scott chi-square tests. The probability of an elective admission was modeled via SurveyLogistic Procedure. Results: Of 39 296 cases, 38.5% IH admissions were urgent or emergent (nonelective). The proportion of nonelective admission was statistically higher (P < .0001) in patients >65 (40.9%) and females (40.3%). Among insurance types, self-paying patients had the highest proportion of nonelective admissions (64.3%). Racial disparities remained significant after adjusting for age, sex, and insurance. Compared with white patients, the odds of an admission being nonelective were significantly higher for black (odds ratio [OR] [95% CI]: 1.65 [1.53-1.77]], Hispanic (OR [95% CI]: 1.39 [1.28-1.51]), and other (OR [95% CI]: 1.2 [1.06-1.37]) patients. Discussion: These data show that multiple at-risk patient populations are significantly more likely to require urgent admission for IH-related complications. These include older, female, non-white, and uninsured patients. Systematic efforts to ameliorate these disparities should be developed.

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