Examining delays in diagnosis for slipped capital femoral epiphysis from a health disparities perspective

Maureen Purcell, Rustin Reeves, Matthew Mayfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE) is a skeletal pathology affecting adolescents which requires timely surgery to prevent progression. Delays in diagnosis and treatment of SCFE can negatively affect patient prognosis, and few studies have examined how health disparities and barriers to care may influence these delays. In particular, only a handful of studies have included a Hispanic patient sample, despite this ethnic group’s increased risk for the disease and unique barriers to care. A retrospective chart review was conducted for 124 patients surgically treated for idiopathic SCFE from January 2010 to September 2017. Patient data included age, facility and date of diagnosis, sex, BMI, race and ethnicity, Southwick slip angle, and insurance type. Results indicated that patients with private insurance were more likely to present with a mild slip than patients who were insured by Medicaid or uninsured, while patients without insurance were more likely to have severe slips. Patients without insurance also had a significantly higher mean slip than patients with insurance. The relationship between insurance status and slip angle degree was significant independent of race, even though Hispanic individuals were significantly more likely to have Medicaid or be uninsured. All patients without insurance, and a majority of those with Medicaid, were diagnosed in the emergency department. Time to diagnosis and slip angle were positively correlated, which suggests that longer delays led to increase of the slip angle, consistent with previous findings. Time to diagnosis and BMI were also correlated, which may be tied to socioeconomic factors, but the possibility of weight bias should not be dismissed. These results suggest that socioeconomic status and other factors may have contributed to barriers to care which led to delays in diagnosis and thus more severe slips. Future SCFE research should include health disparities variables to better inform treatment and prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0269745
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6 June
StatePublished - Jun 2022


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