Socioeconomic status does not influence the presentation of patients with inguinal hernia at an urban Canadian teaching hospital

C. Laane*, L. Chen, L. Rosenkrantz, N. Schuurman, M. Hameed, E. Joos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Socioeconomic status (SES) has been shown to influence the outcomes of surgical pathologies in areas with unequal access to health care. The purpose of this study was to measure the effect of SES on the urgency for inguinal hernia repair in an area with purported equitable access to health care in the context of a universal health care system. Methods: We included all adult patients who underwent surgical management of an inguinal hernia between 2012 and 2016 at 2 urban academic centres. We measured the SES using the Vancouver Area Neighbourhood Deprivation Index ( VANDIX) score. Results: We included 2336 patients: 98 emergency surgery and 294 elective surgery cases. We matched patients without replacement on age, sex and American Society of Anesthesiology score, using optimized propensity score matching at a ratio of 1 case to 3 controls. We found no significant correlation between lower SES and emergency surgical management (p = 0.122). Secondary analysis assessed the impact of SES on morbidity and length of stay. We found no significant difference in the rate of complications, length of stay and recurrence by SES category. Patients from lower SES brackets had increased odds for readmission (odds ratio 1.979; 95% confidence interval 1.111-4.318). Conclusion: We found no correlation between a low SES and the need for emergency inguinal hernia repair, but found an increased rate of readmission in patients from lower SES brackets. This finding should be further scrutinized through a deeper dive into the barriers to access to nonacute care settings, such as home care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E282-E289
JournalCanadian Journal of Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2022

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