JUL 23, 2020 2:20 PM PDT

Study Reveals Racial Disparities in Children's Postsurgical Outcomes

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

A study published this week in Pediatrics revealed racial disparities in postsurgical mortality and complications in children. According to the study, differences in health outcomes for African American versus white patients "is not novel." The study states that race is a "key determinant of postoperative outcomes" and that in general, African American patients have higher rates of postoperative morbidity and mortality when compared to their white peers. This new study's objective was to understand the racial disparities in postoperative outcomes among apparently healthy children.

Using information from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (Pediatric), the research team analyzed the outcomes of 172,529 children who had inpatient operations from 2012 to 2017. According to Scientific American, to ensure that the children were generally healthy, the researchers only used patients who had an American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status of 1 or 2.

In an article from Scientific American regarding the study, Olubukola Nafiu, co-author and pediatric anesthesiologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital (Columbus, Ohio), explained, "We talk about economic factors, the nonavailability of hospitals in African American communities, or how sick a patient is when they present. We decided to ask, 'What if we're dealing with relatively healthy patients?'"

Overall, the analysis found a 0.02% risk of 30-day mortality with a 13.9% chance of postoperative complications and a 5.7% chance of other serious adverse events. The study revealed that compared to their white peers, African American children had 3.43 times the odds of dying within 30 days of surgery. They also had an 18% greater chance of developing postoperative complications and a 7% chance of developing other serious adverse events.

The study concludes that although these rates are low, there is still a significant association between being African American and experiencing postoperative complications or deaths. Additionally, the study conveys hope that this information will be used to assess risk and guide preoperative discussions and decisions. The authors clarify that this study does not "establish causality between race and postsurgical complications or mortality." Instead, it highlights the strong association between the two as well as the disparity with white peers.

Sources: Pediatrics, Scientific American
 

About the Author
  • Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
You May Also Like
MAR 17, 2021
Health & Medicine
CBD Inhibits Brain Changes that Initiate  Alzheimer's: Animal Study
MAR 17, 2021
CBD Inhibits Brain Changes that Initiate Alzheimer's: Animal Study
Cannabidiol, or CBD — the main non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis — may inhibit some triggers for Alzhe ...
MAR 22, 2021
Microbiology
A Cavity-Forming Germ Gets a Little Help From a Gene Cluster
MAR 22, 2021
A Cavity-Forming Germ Gets a Little Help From a Gene Cluster
There are many microbes that live in the human mouth, and while some are harmless, others like Streptococcus mutans are ...
MAR 24, 2021
Cancer
What toxic chemicals are lurking in your couch?
MAR 24, 2021
What toxic chemicals are lurking in your couch?
New research published in the journal Environment International suggests a weekend trip to the nearest furniture st ...
MAR 30, 2021
Cardiology
Looking at a Fertility Drug's Cardiac Safety
MAR 30, 2021
Looking at a Fertility Drug's Cardiac Safety
New drugs go through a long and arduous process before they can grace a doctor’s office. One of the last steps is ...
MAR 28, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Understanding How Cold-Induced Tooth Pain Happens
MAR 28, 2021
Understanding How Cold-Induced Tooth Pain Happens
Our teeth do a lot of work, and they may become sensitive to cold as the gums erode due to aging or because they have an ...
MAR 30, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Common Alzheimer's Drugs Reduce Mortality Rate and Cognitive Decline
MAR 30, 2021
Common Alzheimer's Drugs Reduce Mortality Rate and Cognitive Decline
Researchers from the Karolinska Institute and Umea University in Sweden have found that a commonly recommended group of ...
Loading Comments...