Appendicitis in Far North Queensland: a new take on an old story

Swift, Kate, Thompson, Fintan, Roeder, Luisa, Choy, Kay Tai, Macdonald, Malcolm, and De Costa, Alan (2022) Appendicitis in Far North Queensland: a new take on an old story. ANZ Journal of Surgery, 92 (1-2). pp. 114-120.

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Background: Appendicitis is a leading cause of surgical hospital admission. To date, there have been no published epidemiological studies describing appendicitis in tropical and remote Australia and none specifically documenting appendicitis in Indigenous Australians. This descriptive study used available state data to investigate appendicitis across Far North Queensland (FNQ).

Methods: Queensland Health hospital admission data for FNQ was analysed to explore appendicitis epidemiology and outcomes in FNQ, 2012–2018. Population data for the same time period provided rates.

Results: Over the study period, 3458 hospital presentations for appendicitis were available for analysis. Mean incidence was 178 per 100 000/yr. Median age was 27 years with 50.1% female patients. The annual rate of appendicitis was higher in the Indigenous population. Most patients had a laparoscopic procedure with a low rate of conversion to open surgery (2.6%). More than 80% of patients were discharged from hospital in less than 3 days. Intensive care (ICU) admission rate was low overall (1.1%) although higher for Indigenous people (2.4%). Following discharge, the hospital re-admission rate was 3.8% and all-cause mortality was 0.03%.

Conclusion: The incidence of appendicitis in FNQ is higher than that reported in the rest of Australia in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. Despite logistical challenges of health care, clinical outcomes are in line with best practice across the country. Clinicians in FNQ should maintain a high index of suspicion for diagnosing appendicitis in rural and remote settings.

Item ID: 72551
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1445-2197
Copyright Information: © 2021 Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
Funders: JCU Surgical Research Fund, Cairns
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2022 01:23
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420202 Disease surveillance @ 50%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3202 Clinical sciences > 320226 Surgery @ 50%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2002 Evaluation of health and support services > 200202 Evaluation of health outcomes @ 50%
21 INDIGENOUS > 2103 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health > 210302 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status and outcomes @ 50%
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