Background: Racial disparities in utilization of major surgical procedures have been well documented in the United States over the last decade. Crohn's disease (CD) is a chronically relapsing disorder that leads to significant morbidity and, in most cases, surgery. Our objective was to characterize health disparities in CD-related bowel resection among hospitalized CD patients.
Methods: We analyzed discharge records from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, the largest nationally representative database of acute-care hospitals throughout the United States. A total of 41,918 discharges with CD from 1998 to 2003 were included. Bowel resection and in-hospital mortality rates for non-Hispanic whites, African Americans, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic Asians were calculated.
Results: After adjusting for age, sex, health insurance, comorbidity, median neighborhood income, and hospital characteristics, the relative rate ratio of undergoing bowel resection for African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians compared to whites was 0.68 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.61-0.76), 0.70 (95% CI: 0.60-0.83), and 0.31 (95% CI: 0.16-0.59), respectively. Compared to those with private insurance, the relative risk of surgery for those with Medicare, those with Medicaid, and those who were "self-pay" was 0.48 (95% CI: 0.44-0.54), 0.52 (95% CI: 0.46-0.59), and 0.67 (95% CI: 0.58-0.77), respectively. Women were less likely than men to undergo bowel resection (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 0.80; 95% CI: 0.76-0.85). The in-hospital mortality of individuals who resided in neighborhoods whose median income was above the national median was lower (IRR = 0.71; 95% CI: 0.50-0.99).
Conclusions: Bowel resection among hospitalized CD patients varies by race, health insurance, and sex. Further mechanistic studies are needed to elucidate the social and biological underpinnings of these variations.