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Persistent Racial Disparities in Morbidity Following Major Elective Operations.

American Surgeon 2024 May 32
Introduction: Despite considerable national attention, racial disparities in surgical outcomes persist. We sought to consider whether race-based inequities in outcomes following major elective surgery have improved in the contemporary era. Methods: All adult hospitalization records for elective coronary artery bypass grafting, abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, colectomy, and hip replacement were tabulated from the 2016-2020 National Inpatient Sample. Patients were stratified by Black or White race. To consider the evolution in outcomes, we included an interaction term between race and year. We designated centers in the top quartile of annual procedural volume as high-volume hospitals (HVH). Results: Of ∼2,838,485 patients, 245,405 (8.6%) were of Black race. Following risk-adjustment, Black race was linked with similar odds of in-hospital mortality, but increased likelihood of major complications (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] 1.41, 95%Confidence Interval [CI] 1.36-1.47). From 2016-2020, overall risk-adjusted rates of major complications declined (patients of White race: 9.2% to 8.4%; patients of Black race 11.8% to 10.8%, both P < .001). Yet, the delta in risk of adverse outcomes between patients of White and Black race did not significantly change. Of the cohort, 158,060 (8.4%) were treated at HVH. Following adjustment, Black race remained associated with greater odds of morbidity (AOR 1.37, CI 1.23-1.52; Ref:White). The race-based difference in risk of complications at HVH did not significantly change from 2016 to 2020. Conclusion: While overall rates of complications following major elective procedures declined from 2016 to 2020, patients of Black race faced persistently greater risk of adverse outcomes. Novel interventions are needed to address persistent racial disparities and ensure acceptable outcomes for all patients.

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