Regional and socioeconomic disparities in emergency department use of radiographic imaging for acute pediatric sinusitis

Ahmad R. Sedaghat, Michael J. Cunningham, Stacey L. Ishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Acute pediatric sinusitis (APS) is a common complication of pediatric upper respiratory tract infections. Children with all degrees of APS severity may present to emergency departments (EDs) for evaluation and management. This study was designed to analyze the use of imaging in APS presenting to U.S. EDs. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of the 2008 National Emergency Department Sample database was performed. One hundred one thousand six hundred sixty children, aged ≤18 years, assigned at least one ICD9 code for APS were identified. Current procedural terminology codes for sinus plain film radiographs, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging identified children who underwent sinus imaging. Association of performance of sinus imaging was sought with multiple predictor variables including clinicodemographic and hospital characteristics. Results: The use of any imaging was associated with older age (odds ratio [OR] = 1.07; p < 0.001), male gender (OR = 1.57; p < 0.001), and diagnosis of chronic rhinosinusitis (OR = 2.46; p < 0.001). Imaging was more common in metropolitan teaching (OR = 1.40;0 p < 0.001) and nonteaching (OR = 5.64; p < 0.001) hospitals. Markers of higher socioeconomic status - private health insurance (OR = 1.37; p < 0.001) and higher income level (OR = 1.96; p < 0.001) - were associated with greater use of imaging, especially CT scans. Conclusion: The use of ED imaging in APS is appropriately associated with factors known to be associated with APS complications. However, additional disparities with respect to regional and socioeconomic factors exist. Interventions to eliminate these health care disparities in use of imaging resources may lead to quality improvement in care and outcomes for APS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-28
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Rhinology and Allergy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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