Major disparities in complications and mortality after appendectomy between countries with different income levels have not been well characterized, as comparative studies at patient level between countries are scant. This study aimed to investigate variations in postoperative complications, mortality, and failure to rescue after appendectomy between a high-income country and a low-to-middle–income country.
Hospital discharges on adult patients who underwent appendectomy were extracted from administrative databases from Colombia and 2 states of the United States (Florida and New York). Outcomes included major postoperative complications, in-hospital mortality, and failure to rescue. Univariate analyses were conducted to compare outcomes between the 2 countries. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the independent effect of country on outcomes after adjustment for patient age, sex, comorbidity index, severity of appendicitis, and appendectomy route (laparoscopic/open).
A total of 62,338 cases from Colombia and 57,987 from the United States were included in the analysis. Patients in Colombia were significantly younger and healthier but had a higher incidence of peritonitis. Use of laparoscopy was significantly lower in Colombia (5.9% vs 89.4%; P < .0001). After adjustment for covariates, multivariable logistic regression analyses revealed that compared to the United States, Colombia had lower complication rates (2.8% vs 6.6%; odds ratio [OR], 0.41; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.39–0.44; P < .0001) but higher mortality (0.44% vs 0.08%; OR, 8.92; 95% CI, 5.69–13.98; P < .0001) and failure to rescue (13.6% vs 1.0%; OR, 17.01; 95% CI, 10.66–27.16; P < .0001).
Despite lower rates of postoperative complications, in-hospital mortality after appendectomy was higher in Colombia than in the United States. This difference may be explained by higher rates of failure to rescue in the low-to-middle–income country (ie, decreased ability of Colombian hospitals to rescue patients from complications).
- Question: Are there differences in postoperative complications, mortality, and failure to rescue after appendectomy in Colombia, a low-middle–income country, compared to the United States, a high-income country?
- Findings: Despite lower rates of complications, the adjusted in-hospital mortality rate was about 9× higher, and the failure to rescue rate was, on average, 17× higher in Colombia.
- Meaning: Mortality after appendectomy was higher in Colombia, despite an observed lower rate of complications, suggesting that higher mortality in Colombia may be driven by higher rates of failure to rescue rather than by higher incidence of complications.