Controversy exists over surgical procedure choice for vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) in children. Either ureteral reimplantation (UR) or a newer procedure, endoscopic injection (EI), may be chosen; however, the factors that determine procedure choice for any individual patient are unclear. The objective of this study was to identify patient and hospital factors associated with the choice of EI for children undergoing antireflux surgery.
We searched the Pediatric Health Information System, a national database collected by freestanding children's hospitals. We identified children aged <18 years with primary VUR who underwent surgery (UR or EI) between 2003 and 2008. We used multivariate logistic regression models to evaluate whether the type of procedure performed was associated with hospital-level factors including individual hospital, hospital region, size, and teaching status, as well as patient features including age, race, gender, and insurance type.
We identified 15026 children with primary VUR who underwent antireflux surgery between 2003 and 2008. Of these, 3611 children (24%) were treated at hospitals that performed reimplant only. Among children treated at institutions offering both procedures, 5562 (49%) underwent injection and 5853 (51%) underwent reimplant. Patients who received EI were significantly older and more likely to be girls, white, and publicly insured than those who had UR. They were more likely to have been treated at hospitals that were larger, were teaching hospitals, or were located in larger metropolitan areas or the South rather than the Northeast. After adjusting for other covariates, the treating hospital was the most important factor predicting procedure choice.
The hospital at which a patient receives treatment is the single most important feature that drove procedure choice for children with primary VUR. The patient's age, gender, insurance status, and disease severity played a smaller, although significant, role.