BACKGROUND: Care of digit amputations ranges from revision amputation to replantation. Many factors determine the treatment type. We looked at the epidemiology of amputation and factors associated with escalation of care after presenting to the emergency department (ED). We hypothesized that disparities in care following digit amputation exist.METHODS: We queried the State ED Databases and State Inpatient Databases of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project and developed a cohort using the diagnosis codes for thumb and finger amputation. Escalation of care was defined as patients whose disposition from the ED was referral to a higher level hospital or inpatient admission. Bivariate and multivariable analyses were conducted to identify the characteristics associated with escalation of care.RESULTS: Our cohort included 45 586 patients, of which 37 539 (82.4%) were men; 7130 (15.6%) and 38 456 (84.4%) suffered a thumb or finger amputation, respectively. The mean age was 39.3 ± 20.4 years, and 7487 (16.4%) received escalated care. Female sex (odds ratio [OR] = 0.7) was a negative independent predictor of escalation of care, while high income (OR = 1.1), machinery-related mechanism (OR = 1.8), self-harm (OR = 4.2), thumb amputation (OR = 1.7), Medicaid (OR = 1.3) or Medicare (OR = 1.1) insurance, trauma hospitals (OR = 1.3), and metropolitan teaching hospitals (OR = 1.2) were positive predictors.CONCLUSIONS: Male patients who suffered a thumb and/or self-inflicted amputation, are from a higher income zip code, have Medicaid or Medicare insurance, and present to a teaching trauma center are more likely to receive escalated care. This highlights differences in care that can serve as a starting point for work on barriers to access.
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