The Effect of Hospital Volume of Pediatric Appendectomies on the Misdiagnosis of Appendicitis in Children

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 01/2004; 113(1 Pt 1):18-23. DOI: 10.1542/peds.113.1.18
Source: PubMed


Although appendicitis is a common pediatric surgical condition, it is often misdiagnosed. Because higher hospital volume has been associated with improved outcome for many surgical procedures, the current study investigates whether hospital volume of pediatric appendectomies is associated with misdiagnosis of appendicitis in children.
The Kids' Inpatient Database is a national sample of pediatric discharges from 2521 hospitals in 22 states in 1997. In this study, misdiagnosis was defined as a patient with a principal International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision procedure code for nonincidental appendectomy without a corresponding diagnosis code for appendicitis. Hospitals were stratified into 5 groups based on the number of nonincidental appendectomies performed on children in 1997: lowest (<1 per month), low (>or=1 per month but <1 per week), medium (1-2 per week), high (2-3 per week), and highest (>or=3 per week). Using generalized estimating equations to control for clustering within hospitals, we developed a logistic regression model of the effect of hospital volume on misdiagnosis while adjusting for patient age, gender, race, and insurance status.
In the database, 37,109 nonincidental appendectomies were performed on children 1 to 18 years old in 1997. Of those, 3103 (8.4%) were misdiagnosed. Of all appendectomies, 24,655 (66.4%) were performed at lowest- or low-volume hospitals. After adjusting for patient characteristics, lowest- (odds ratio [OR]: 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.0-2.2) and low- (OR: 1.6; 95% CI: 1.1-2.3) volume hospitals had a significantly increased likelihood of misdiagnosis compared with highest-volume hospitals. Misdiagnosis at medium- (OR: 1.5; 95% CI: 1.0-2.2) and high- (OR: 1.4; 95% CI: 0.9-2.2) volume hospitals was similar to misdiagnosis at lower-volume hospitals, although not statistically different from highest-volume hospitals.
Almost two thirds of pediatric appendectomies are performed at hospitals performing <1 pediatric appendectomy per week. Lower hospital volume of pediatric appendectomies is associated with a significantly increased likelihood of misdiagnosis of appendicitis in children.

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    • "The diagnostic difficulties result in increased risks of both negative appendectomies and a delayed diagnosis, both leading to increased morbidity, more complications, longer hospital stay, and higher costs [3, 5– 9]. These risks are further increased in the younger children [3] [8] [9]. The doctor delay is a known cause contributing to late diagnosis in young children [5] [6]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background. This study aimed to evaluate Pediatric Appendicitis Score (PAS), diagnostic delay, and factors responsible for possible late diagnosis in children <4 years compared with older children who were operated on for suspected appendicitis. Method. 122 children, between 1 and 14 years, operated on with appendectomy for suspected appendicitis, were retrospectively analyzed. The cohort was divided into two age groups: ≥4 years () and <4 years (). Results. The mean PAS was lower among the younger compared with the older patients (5.3 and 6.6, resp.; ), despite the fact that younger children had more severe appendicitis (75.0% and 33.3%, resp.; ). PAS had low sensitivity in both groups, with a significantly lower sensitivity among the younger patients. Parent and doctor delay were confirmed in children <4 years of age with appendicitis. PAS did not aid in patients with doctor delay. Parameters in patient history, symptoms, and abdominal examination were more diffuse in younger children. Conclusion. PAS should be used with caution when examining children younger than 4 years of age. Diffuse symptoms in younger children with acute appendicitis lead to delay and to later diagnosis and more complicated appendicitis.
    12/2014; 2014. DOI:10.1155/2014/438076
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    • "Common diagnoses associated with normal appendiceal anatomy include ovarian cysts, mesenteric adenitis, ovarian cystadenoma, perforated diverticulum, gastroenteritis, reactive lymphoid hyperplasia, serosal congestion, and fibrous obliteration [3]. It should be noted that 35% of negative appendectomies are discharged with a diagnosis of unexplained abdominal pain without sequelae [2]. This article discusses an instance of osteomyelitis of the acetabulum involving the physis at the triradiate cartilage, with development of septic arthritis of the hip joint and abscess of the obturator internus, initially diagnosed and treated as acute appendicitis. "
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    ABSTRACT: The misdiagnosis of acute appendicitis is not uncommon. Rarely does infection of the triradiate cartilage imitate this entity. This case highlights an uncommon presentation of acetabular osteomyelitis as acute appendicitis and the severity of its sequelae. Like septic arthritis of the hip, acute appendicitis overtreatment is acceptable in part because of the complications resulting from delayed diagnosis and treatment. However, this case demonstrates the need to consider pelvic osteomyelitis and peripelvic infection in the differential diagnosis of appendicitis.
    Journal of Pediatric Surgery 08/2010; 45(8):1707-10. DOI:10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2010.04.013 · 1.39 Impact Factor
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    • "We know of no published studies that test these hypotheses. It is interesting to note that Smink et al. [22] found significantly higher rates of negative appendectomy in low-volume hospitals. (A negative appendectomy is an unnecessary surgery resulting from an incorrect diagnosis.) "
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    ABSTRACT: The U.S. National Healthcare Disparities Report is a recent effort to measure and monitor racial and ethnic disparities in health and healthcare. The Report is a work in progress and includes few indicators specific to children. An indicator worthy of consideration is racial/ethnic differences in the rate of bad outcomes for pediatric acute appendicitis. Bad outcomes for this condition are indicative of poor access to healthcare, which is amenable to social and healthcare policy changes. We analyzed the KID Inpatient Database, a nationally representative sample of pediatric hospitalization, to compare rates of appendicitis rupture between white, African American, Hispanic and Asian children. We ran weighted logistic regression models to obtain national estimates of relative odds of rupture rate for the four groups, adjusted for developmental, biological, socioeconomic, health services and hospital factors that might influence disease outcome. Rupture was a much more burdensome outcome than timely surgery and rupture avoidance. Rupture cases had 97% higher hospital charges and 175% longer hospital stays than non-rupture cases on average. These burdens disproportionately affected minority children, who had 24% – 38% higher odds of appendicitis rupture than white children, adjusting for age and gender. These differences were reduced, but remained significant after adjusting for other factors. The racial/ethnic disparities in pediatric appendicitis outcome are large and are preventable with timely diagnosis and surgery for all children. Furthermore, estimating this disparity using the KID survey is a relatively straightforward process. Therefore pediatric appendicitis rupture rate is a good candidate for inclusion in the National Healthcare Disparities Report. As with most other health and healthcare disparities, efforts to reduce disparities in income, wealth and access to care will most likely improve the odds of favorable outcome for this condition as well.
    Population Health Metrics 06/2005; 3(1):4. DOI:10.1186/1478-7954-3-4 · 2.11 Impact Factor
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