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Arch Surg. 2002 Jul;137(7):799-804; discussion 804.

The clinical and economic correlates of misdiagnosed appendicitis: nationwide analysis.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, University of Washington, H-220 Health Sciences Center, Box 357183, Seattle, WA 98195-7183, USA. daveflum@u.washington.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Negative appendectomy (NA)--the nonincidental removal of a normal appendix--occurs commonly but the associated clinical- and system-level costs are not well studied.

HYPOTHESIS:

The frequency of adverse clinical outcomes and associated financial burden of hospitalizations during which NA is performed is greater than previously recognized and varies widely among demographic groups.

DESIGN:

Population-based, retrospective cohort study.

SETTING:

The 1997 Nationwide Inpatient Sample of the Health Care Utilization Project.

PATIENTS:

All surveyed patients assigned International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision procedure codes for appendectomy but without an associated diagnosis of acute appendicitis.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

The age- and sex-stratified rates of NA, the incidence of associated infectious complications and case fatality, and the average length of stay and hospitalization charges during those admissions.

RESULTS:

Nationwide, an estimated 261 134 patients underwent nonincidental appendectomies in 1997, and 39 901 (15.3%) were negative for appendicitis. Women had a higher rate of NA as did patients younger than 5 years and older than 60 years. When compared with patients with appendicitis, NA was associated with a significantly longer length of stay (5.8 vs 3.6 days, P<.001), total charge-admission ($18 780 vs $10 584, P<.001), case fatality rate (1.5% vs 0.2%, P<.001), and rate of infectious complications (2.6% vs 1.8%, P<.001). An estimated $741.5 million in total hospital charges resulted from admissions in which a NA was performed.

CONCLUSIONS:

There are significant clinical and financial costs incurred by patients undergoing NA during the treatment of presumed appendicitis. These should be considered when evaluating system-level interventions to improve the management of appendicitis.

PMID:
12093335
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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