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Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006 Dec;4(12):1507-1513.

Racial and geographic variations in colectomy rates among hospitalized ulcerative colitis patients.

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  • 1Harvey M. and Lyn P. Meyerhoff Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21231, USA.

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  • Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Jun;5(6):765.



Ulcerative colitis is a debilitating disease for which colectomy is curative. Racial disparities have been described for a wide spectrum of surgical procedures. The goal of this study was to characterize racial and geographic differences in colectomy rates among hospitalized ulcerative colitis (UC) patients.


We analyzed discharge records from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, the largest representative sample of acute care hospitals throughout the United States. A total of 23,389 discharges with UC from 1998-2003 were included for analysis. Colectomy rates, in-hospital mortality, and length of stay were calculated for non-Hispanic whites, African Americans, and Hispanics.


After adjustment for age, gender, health insurance, comorbidity, and hospital characteristics, the colectomy rate ratios for African Americans and Hispanics compared with whites were 0.46 (95% confidence interval, 0.35-0.60) and 0.74 (95% confidence interval, 0.59-0.93), respectively. African Americans experienced a longer interval between admission and colectomy than whites (8.8 vs 5.6 days, P=.02). There were also significant geographic variations in colectomy, with the West and Midwest regions yielding rates 3-fold higher than the Northeast. Although adjusted in-hospital mortality did not differ by race, Medicaid patients had 3.3-fold higher mortality than those with private insurance. Between 1998 and 2003, the colectomy rate decreased among whites but not African Americans and Hispanics. A temporal narrowing of geographic variation in colectomy was also observed.


The rate of colectomy among hospitalized UC patients varies significantly by race and geographic location. Further studies are needed to elucidate the social and biologic underpinnings of these variations.

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