Black Patients Have Worse Diverticulitis Surgery Outcomes

Blacks undergoing diverticulitis surgery have more emergency procedures, higher mortality risk

TUESDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Black patients who undergo surgery for diverticulitis have a higher risk of undergoing emergency procedures, and an increased mortality risk than white patients, according to a study published in the November issue of the Archives of Surgery.

Eric B. Schneider, Ph.D., from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues examined racial disparities in procedure type and mortality in patients insured by Medicare, who underwent diverticulitis surgery. A total of 49,937 white and 2,283 black patients, aged 65 years or older, who underwent surgery for primary diverticulitis were included. In-hospital mortality across procedure types (elective versus urgent/emergency), was the main outcome measure.

The investigators found that black patients were slightly younger (74.7 versus 75.5 years) and were more likely to be women (75.2 versus 69.8 percent) than whites. Compared with whites, blacks had significantly greater comorbidity (mean Charlson Comorbidity Index score, 0.98 versus 0.87) and significantly higher rates of urgent/emergency surgery (67.8 versus 54.7 percent). Black race was correlated with a 26 percent increase in the risk of urgent/emergency admission and a 28 percent increase in mortality risk, after adjusting for age, gender, and medical comorbidity.

"Blacks demonstrated significantly increased mortality risk after controlling for age, sex, and comorbidities. These findings suggest that observed racial disparities encompass more than just insurance status and medical comorbidity," the authors write.

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