FRIDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- The type of hospital in which minority children with appendicitis receive care may affect their chances of developing a perforated or ruptured appendix, according to a new study.
However, the study authors said that more research is needed to explain why this racial disparity exists and what steps can be taken to prevent it.
If not treated within one or two days, appendicitis can lead to a perforated appendix. As a result, this painful condition can serve as a marker for inadequate access to health care, the UCLA Medical Center researchers explained in a news release from the American College of Surgeons.
"Appendicitis is a time-dependent disease process that leads to a more complicated medical outcome, and that outcome, perforated appendicitis, has increased hospital costs and increased burden to both the patient and society," according to study author Dr. Stephen Shew, an associate professor of surgery at UCLA Medical Center, and a pediatric surgeon at Mattel Children's hospital in Los Angeles.
In conducting the study, Shew's team examined discharge data on nearly 108,000 children aged 2 to 18 who were treated for appendicitis at 386 California hospitals between 1999 and 2007. Of the children treated, 53 percent were Hispanic, 36 percent were white, 3 percent were black, 5 percent were Asian and 8 percent were of an unknown race.
The researchers divided the children into three groups based on where they were treated: a community hospital, a children's hospital or a county hospital.
After taking age, income level and other risk factors for a perforated appendix into account, the investigators found that among kids treated at community hospitals, Hispanic children were 23 percent more likely than white children to experience this condition. Meanwhile, Asian children were 34 percent more likely than whites to have a perforated appendix.
Among the children trea
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