Disparities in receipt of a laparoscopic operation for ectopic pregnancy among TRICARE beneficiaries

Document Type



General Surgery


Background: Racial disparities in receipt of a laparoscopic operation for ectopic pregnancy are attributed to inequalities in access to care. This study sought to determine if racial disparities in laparoscopic operation for ectopic pregnancy exist among a universally insured population.
Methods: Using 2006-2010 TRICARE (insurance for members of the United States Armed Services and their dependents) data, patients who received a laparoscopic operation or laparotomy for ectopic pregnancy were stratified into direct/military or purchased/civilian system of care. Odds of receipt of a laparoscopic operation in each racial group were compared adjusting for patient demographics, system of care, and severity of ectopic pregnancy.
Results: Among 3,041 patients in the study sample, 1,878 (61.7%) received laparotomy and 1,163 (38.2%) received a laparoscopic operation within 30 days of diagnosis. Overall, 42.4% of white women received a laparoscopic operation compared with 33.1% of Asian women and 34.9% of black women (P < .001). On multivariable analysis, black women had a 33% lesser odds of receiving a laparoscopic operation (odds ratio: 0.67; confidence interval: 0.55-0.83) compared with white women. These disparities were absent within direct care (odds ratio: 0.93; confidence interval: 0.71-1.21) but were present within purchased care (odds ratio: 0.54; confidence interval: 0.40-0.73).
Conclusion: Racial minority patients are less likely to receive a laparoscopic operation for ectopic pregnancy despite universal insurance coverage within civilian/purchased care. Further work is warranted to better understand the factors other than insurance access that may contribute to racial disparities in selection of operative approach.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University

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