Equity in the Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH) Diagnosis and Treatment: A Retrospective Cohort Study to Unravel the Effect of Area Deprivation and the Insurance Type

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Journal Article

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area deprivation index; developmental dysplasia of the hip; pavlik harness; pediatric orthopedic surgery; socioeconomic factors


Background Timely diagnosis of developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is crucial for implementing less invasive treatment. However, socioeconomic barriers may lead to late diagnoses. The Area Deprivation Index (ADI) is an indicator of the socioeconomic challenges experienced by patients and their families. The primary objective is to investigate if the age at which DDH is diagnosed and the treatment protocol are influenced by the ADI or the insurance type. Materials and methods Using International Classification of Diseases-Tenth Edition (ICD-10) codes, newly diagnosed DDH patients (age under 10 years) from 2020 to 2023 were retrospectively identified at our pediatric tertiary center. Patients were categorized into four groups based on ADI percentile: (1) 1-10th percentile, (2) 11-20th percentile, (3) 21-40th percentile, and (4) 41-100th percentile. They were also stratified by insurance type. Age at diagnosis and treatment protocol (non-operative vs. operative) were collected and compared between the different ADI groups and insurance groups. Operative treatment was defined as open reduction with or without femoral/pelvic osteotomy. Results A total of 327 patients satisfied the inclusion criteria and had available ADI scores for analysis. The average age at diagnosis was notably lower in ADI group 1 compared to all other ADI groups (p < 0.05) and considerably lower for patients with commercial insurance compared to those with public (p = 0.0002). The rate of surgical treatment was markedly lower in ADI group 1 compared to ADI groups 2 and 3 (both p < 0.05) and notably lower for those with commercial insurance compared to public (p = 0.0005). ADI groups 2-4 showed no significant differences in average age at diagnosis or surgical treatment rate. Conclusion The study demonstrates that socioeconomic factors affect the diagnosis and, consequently, the treatment course of DDH. Specifically, patients residing in areas with lower levels of deprivation tend to be diagnosed at a younger age and undergo surgical treatment less frequently.


Orthopaedic Surgery