Evaluating the association between race and complications following pediatric upper extremity surgery

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of pediatric orthopedics. Part B




Race can influence perioperative care and outcomes in adult and pediatric orthopedic surgery. However, no prior study has evaluated any associations between race and complications following upper extremity surgery in pediatric patients. Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate whether there are any differences in risks for complications, readmission, or mortality following upper extremity surgery between African American and Caucasian pediatric patients. Pediatric patients who had a primary upper extremity procedure from 2012 to 2019 were identified in the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program-Pediatric database. Patients were categorized into two cohorts: patients who were Caucasian and patients who were African American. Differences in demographics, comorbidities, and postoperative complications were assessed and compared between the two-patient population using bivariate and multivariable regression analyses. Of the 25 848 pediatric patients who underwent upper extremity surgeries, 21 693 (83.9%) were Caucasian, and 4155 (16.1%) were African American. Compared to Caucasian patients, African American patients were more likely to have a higher American Society of Anesthesiologists classification (P < 0.001), as well as pulmonary comorbidities (P < 0.001) and hematologic disorders (P = 0.004). Following adjustment on multivariable regression analysis to control for baseline characteristics, there were no differences in any postoperative complications between Caucasian and African American patients. In conclusion, African American pediatric patients are not at an increased risk for postoperative complications compared to Caucasian patients following upper extremity surgery. Race should not be used independently when evaluating patient risk for postoperative complications. Level of Evidence: III.


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