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J Surg Res. 2021 Apr 16;265:27-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2021.02.050. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: At any given time, almost 2 million individuals are in prisons or jails in the United States. Incarceration status has been associated with disproportionate rates of cancer and infectious diseases. However, little is known about the burden emergency general surgery (EGS) in criminal justice involved (CJI) populations.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) database was used to evaluate all hospital admissions with common EGS diagnoses in CJI persons from 2012-2014. The population of CJI individuals in California was determined using United States Bureau of Justice Statistics data. Primary outcomes were rates of admission and procedures for five common EGS diagnoses, while the secondary outcome was probability of complex presentation.
RESULTS: A total of 4,345 admissions for CJI patients with EGS diagnoses were identified. The largest percentage of EGS admissions were with peptic ulcer disease (41.0%), followed by gallbladder disease (27.5%), small bowel obstruction (14.0%), appendicitis (13.8%), and diverticulitis (10.5%). CJI patients had variable probabilities of receipt of surgery depending on condition, ranging from 6.2% to 90.7%. 5.6% to 21.0% of admissions presented with complicated disease, the highest being with peptic ulcer disease and appendicitis.
CONCLUSION: Admissions with EGS diagnoses were common and comparable to previously published rates of disease in general population. CJI individuals had high rates of complicated presentation, but low rates of surgical intervention. More granular evaluation of the burden and management of these common, morbid, and costly surgical diagnoses is essential for ensuring timely and quality care delivery for this vulnerable population.