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Black children suffer ‘more complications’ after appendicitis surgery

Black children in the UK are four times more likely to experience complications after appendicitis surgery than their white counterparts, a study has found.

The study, funded by the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, looked at 2,799 children from 80 hospitals across the UK aged under 16 who had surgery for suspected appendicitis between November 2019 and January 2022.

Of these, 185 children (7%) developed postoperative complications within 30 days of the surgery. Three-quarters of these complications were related to the wound, while a quarter were respiratory, urinary or catheter-related or of unknown origin.

The study found that black children had a four times greater risk of experiencing complications after the operation, and that this risk was independent of the child’s socioeconomic status and health history.

Appendicitis is one of the most common paediatric surgical emergency with 10,000 performed every year. The authors said that this was the first study to look at the demographic differences of postoperative complication rates in regards to appendicitis.

The researchers said they could not draw firm conclusions regarding why black children had worse outcomes after this type of emergency surgery, and that this apparent health inequality “requires urgent further investigation and development of interventions aimed at resolution”.

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Source: The Guardian, 22 February 2024


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