Impact of Limited English Proficiency on Definitive Care in Pediatric Appendicitis

Sarah C. Stokes, Jordan E. Jackson, Alana L. Beres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Limited English proficiency (LEP) is associated with decreased access to healthcare. We hypothesized that LEP children with appendicitis would experience more delays in care than EP children. Methods: Retrospective review of patients <18 y presenting to a tertiary pediatric hospital July 2014-July 2019 with appendicitis. LEP patients were compared to EP patients. The primary outcome was appendiceal perforation. Secondary outcomes included prior pediatrician or emergency department (ED) visits without definitive management, duration of symptoms, length of stay (LOS), initial operative or non-operative management, time from presentation to operation and return to the ED within 30 d. Multivariable regression was performed to evaluate LEP as a predictor of study outcomes. Results: A total of 893 patients with appendicitis were identified, 15.6% (n = 140) had LEP. On multivariate regression LEP was not a significant predictor of appendiceal perforation (AOR 1.20, 95% CI 0.79, 1.80, P = 0.390). LEP was a significant predictor of a prior ED or pediatrician visit without definitive management (AOR 2.05, 95 % CI 1.05, 3.98, P= 0.034) and longer LOS (Coefficient 1.01, 95% CI 0.41, 1.61, P= 0.001). LEP was associated with a minimal increase in duration of pain prior to presentation that was not clinically significant and was not associated with initial operative or non-operative management or a significantly longer time between presentation and operation. Conclusions: LEP children did not experience higher rates of appendiceal perforation at our institution, but were more frequently initially evaluated by a pediatrician or at an ED and discharged without definitive management and had longer LOS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-292
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Appendicitis
  • Healthcare disparities
  • Limited English proficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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