Sickle Cell Patients: High Care Usage Rate

MILWAUKEE, April 13 (UPI) — A U.S. study shows sickle cell patients average about 2.5 hospital visits per year, with 18- to 30-year-old patients more likely to require acute care.

“Although previous studies have described the magnitude of this healthcare utilization, they have generally been restricted to select populations of patients with sickle cell disease and therefore have limited generalizability and an inability to provide population-based estimates,” the researchers said.

Led by Dr. David Brousseau of the Medical College of Wisconsin, the scientists examined sickle cell acute care utilization during emergency department visits and hospitalizations from eight states: Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The analysis showed there were 109,344 acute care encounters, yielding an acute care utilization rate of 2.59 encounters per patient per year. Among different age brackets, the rate of acute care utilization was highest, 3.61 encounters per patient per year, for 18 to 30 year olds, before decreasing throughout middle and older age.

“Rates of acute care utilization and rates of return for acute care are both high in the sickle cell population,” the researchers said. “By providing comprehensive, generalizable benchmarks and identifying high-risk subpopulations, these data can be used to inform efforts to improve quality of care and reduce morbidity in sickle cell disease.”

The study appears in the April 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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