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Social and geographic determinants of hysterectomy in Ontario: a population-based retrospective cross-sectional analysis


Objectives — This study sought to determine whether social factors (neighbourhood education and income) and geographic factors (urban or rural dwelling and local service area) are associated with hysterectomy rates, proportion of hysterectomies performed minimally invasively, and hysterectomy complication and readmission rates in Ontario.

Methods — The Canadian Institute for Health Information Discharge Abstract Database was used to perform a population-based retrospective cross-sectional study on women who had an abdominal, vaginal, and laparoscopic hysterectomy in 2007 for benign gynaecologic conditions in hospitals in Ontario, Canada. Crude and age-standardized rates of hysterectomy, proportion of hysterectomy performed minimally invasively (vaginal or laparoscopic), and rates of surgical complications were analyzed by neighbourhood educational attainment, neighbourhood income, rural or urban residency, and health service delivery area (Canadian Task Force Classification of Study Design II).

Results — A total of 13 511 women who underwent hysterectomy were included. Age-standardized hysterectomy rates were higher for the lowest neighbourhood educational quartile compared with the highest (relative risk [RR] 1.49; 95% CI 1.39-1.60), higher with rural compared with urban dwelling (RR 1.54; 95% CI 1.47-1.61), varied with local health service delivery area (Local Health Integration Network [LHIN]) (range 133.4-439.5 per 100 000 women), and also varied non-linearly with neighbourhood income quintile. Proportion of hysterectomies performed minimally invasively did not vary with neighbourhood education or income, were higher for rural compared with urban areas (RR 1.10; 95% CI 1.03-1.19), and varied with LHIN (range 30.0-62.9 per 100 hysterectomies). Surgical complications varied with neighbourhood educational quartile, but not with income or urban or rural residence.

Conclusions — Considerable social and geographic variation exists in rates of hysterectomy in Ontario, whereas only geographic variation is seen in use of minimally invasive routes. Surgical complication rates vary only by neighbourhood education. Such findings suggest inequities in hysterectomy practice in Ontario, and there is a need to evaluate factors influencing patients' decision making, physicians' clinical and surgical practice, and health system policies to help address the observed disparities.



Chen I, Wise MR, Dunn S, Anderson G, Degani N, Lefebvre G, Bierman AS. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2017; 39(10):861-869. Epub 2017 Jun 21.

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