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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Children's Health Channel
Reported April 12, 2010

Sickle Cell Patients Receive Inferior Care

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Four of every 10 people treated in a hospital for pain or other problems caused by sickle cell disease have to be readmitted for treatment within 30 days.

The recent study also found that many sickle cell patients seek emergency room care within 30 days of being discharged from a hospital. The study was conducted by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Children's Research Institute at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, both in Milwaukee, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder, causes acute, severe, recurrent painful episodes due to blockage of blood vessels by sickled red blood cells. People with sickle cell disease are also at increased risk for stroke and chronic problems such as kidney and lung disease. The disease affects millions of people worldwide, including approximately 90,000 people in the United States. African Americans are disproportionately affected.

High rates of re-hospitalization within 30 days of a previous hospital stay, an indicator of poor quality post-hospital outpatient care, has only recently gained interest related to sickle cell patients. The study showed high rates of re-hospitalizations at 30 days, and also at 14 days, which may be a more accepted marker of care quality in sickle cell disease.

"It was important for us to draw attention to the high rate of acute care utilization for people with sickle cell disease," lead author David C. Brousseau, M.D., M.S., associate professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin, was quoted as saying. "Armed with this knowledge, we can focus attention on the need for improved care for those with sickle cell disease."

"This study is important because it provides benchmark data to evaluate the quality of outpatient management of sickle cell disease symptoms," AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., was quoted as saying.

The study found one in three sickle cell disease patients was re-hospitalized within 30 days, a rate roughly 1.5 times greater than that of diabetes patients, twice that of heart failure patients, and nearly 10 times greater than the rate for pediatric asthma patients. Moreover, two-thirds of the patients re-hospitalized within 30 days were re-admitted within 14 days of their previous hospital discharge, suggesting that interventions to prevent re-hospitalizations need to happen during or soon after the hospitalization.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), April 7, 2010

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Melissa Medalie at

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