Appendicitis: Higher risk in Mexican Americans?

Valerie A. Lawrence, Michael R. Tuley, Andrew K. Diehl, Carey P. Page, Rahul Dhanda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives. Mexican Americans (MAs), compared to white non-Hispanics (WNHs), have higher rates of biliary disease, noninsulin dependent diabetes, and endstage renal disease but lower rates of lung cancer, hip fractures, and mortality from coronary heart disease. Relatively little research has been done to identify other ethnic differences in disease incidence. We used surgical procedure rates to confirm known ethnic differences and to explore our clinical suspicion that MAs have higher rates of appendectomy than WNHs. Methods. We used a registry of surgical procedures at two teaching hospitals in South Texas to calculate proportional operation ratios (PORs) for MAs versus WNHs. These two hospitals are the primary source of acute hospital care for the indigent in the area. The POR is arithmetically identical to proportional incidence and mortality ratios. Results. MAs underwent appendectomy proportionally more often than WNHs at both hospitals (POR = 1.41 and 1.75, p < 0.0001). Other significant PORs were consistent with known ethnic disease differences in biliary tract operations, vascular access for chronic hemodialysis, lung cancer, and coronary artery bypass. Conclusions. These findings support the hypothesis that MAs may undergo appendectomy more often than WNHs and so may be at higher risk of appendicitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-243
Number of pages7
JournalEthnicity and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1996


  • Appendectomy
  • Appendicitis
  • Epidemiology
  • Ethnicity
  • Hispanics
  • Mexican Americans
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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