Sociodemographic disparities in health outcomes are well documented, but the effects of such disparities on preoperative presentation of pituitary adenomas (PA) and surgical outcomes following resection are not completely understood. In this study the authors sought to compare the preoperative clinical characteristics and postoperative outcomes in patients undergoing PA resection at a private hospital (PH) versus a safety-net hospital (SNH).
The authors conducted a retrospective review over a 36-month period of patients with PAs who underwent endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery performed by the same attending neurosurgeon at either a PH or an SNH at a single academic medical institution.
A total of 92 PH patients and 69 SNH patients were included. SNH patients were more likely to be uninsured or have Medicaid (88.4% vs 10.9%, p < 0.0001). A larger percentage of SNH patients were Hispanic (98.7% vs 32.6% p < 0.0001), while PH patients were more likely to be non-Hispanic white (39.1% vs 4.3%, p < 0.0001). SNH patients had a larger mean PA diameter (26.2 vs 22.4 mm, p = 0.0347) and a higher rate of bilateral cavernous sinus invasion (13% vs 4.3%, p = 0.0451). SNH patients were more likely to present with headache (68.1% vs 45.7%, p = 0.0048), vision loss (63.8% vs 35.9%, p < 0.0005), panhypopituitarism (18.8% vs 4.3%, p = 0.0031), and pituitary apoplexy (18.8% vs 7.6%, p = 0.0334). Compared to PH patients, SNH patients were as likely to undergo gross-total resection (73.9% vs 76.1%, p = 0.7499) and had similar rates of postoperative improvement in headache (80% vs 89%, p = 0.14) and vision (82% vs 84%, p = 0.74), but had higher rates of postoperative panhypopituitarism (23% vs 10%, p = 0.04) driven by preoperative endocrinopathies. Although there were no differences in tumor recurrence or progression, loss to follow-up was seen in 7.6% of PH versus 18.6% (p = 0.04) of SNH patients.
Patients presenting to the SNH were more often uninsured or on Medicaid and presented with larger, more advanced pituitary tumors. SNH patients were more likely to present with headaches, vision loss, and apoplexy, likely translating to greater improvements in headache and vision observed after surgery. These findings highlight the association between medically underserved populations and more advanced disease states at presentation, and underscore the likely role of academic tertiary multidisciplinary care teams and endoscopic PA resection in somewhat mitigating sociodemographic factors known to portend poorer outcomes, though longer-term follow-up is needed to confirm these findings.