Pediatric testicular torsion: does patient transfer affect time to intervention or surgical outcomes at a rural tertiary care center?

Testicular torsion (TT) is a urologic emergency that requires prompt surgical intervention. In rural Appalachia, patients are often transferred from surrounding communities due to lack of urologic care. We hypothesized that those transferred would have delayed intervention and higher rates of orchiectomy when compared to those who presented directly to our hospital.

We performed a retrospective review of patient charts with an ICD-9 diagnosis of TT from 2008 to 2016. Patients met inclusion criteria if diagnosis was confirmed by operative exploration. We compared rate of testicular loss and time until surgical intervention between groups.

Twenty-three patients met inclusion criteria (12 transferred, 11 direct). Patient demographics did not significantly differ between groups. Transferred patients had a higher orchiectomy rate (33% v 22%,p = 0.41) although this was not statistically significant. Time to surgery from symptom onset was significantly longer in those transferred (12.9 h) compared to those not transferred (6.9 h, p = 0.02). Distance of transfer was not correlated with time of delay (r2 = 0.063).

Transferred patients with TT have numerically higher rates of orchiectomy which may reach significance in an appropriately powered study, and relative delays in surgical intervention. This study highlights the need for improved access to urologic care in rural areas.

BMC urology. 2019 May 17*** epublish ***

Tyler Overholt, Morris Jessop, John Barnard, Osama Al-Omar

School of Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown, USA., Department of Urology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, USA., Department of Urology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, USA. .