Emergency department visits by children with sickle hemoglobinopathies: Factors associated with hospital admission

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Children with sickle cell disease frequently present to the emergency department (ED) for evaluation of fever or management of pain. We retrospectively analyzed all ED visits by children with sickle hemoglobinopathies during 1990, excluding those for trauma. Of 146 visits by 56 children, 73 (50%) were classified as “Painful Events,” 43 (29%) as “Febrile Events,” 20 (14%) as “Painful and Febrile Events,” and 10 (7%) as “Other.” Hospital admission occurred for 42% of Painful Events versus 70% of Febrile Events (P=0.008) and 85% of Painful and Febrile Events (P=0.002). For Painful Events, location of pain was not associated with hospitalization, but pain less than 24 hours in duration before the ED visit (P=0.002) and administration of intravenous fluids and analgesia (P=0.001) were associated with admission. For children evaluated for Febrile Events, age less than six years (P=0.016) and maximum temperature greater than 39°C (P=0.011) were associated with subsequent hospitalization, but total white blood cell count and absolute neutrophil count were not. For Painful and Febrile Events, pain less than 24 hours (P=0.029) was associated with hospital admission, but age, maximum temperature, white blood cell count, and absolute neutrophil count were not. Although prospective studies are needed to validate these data, the identification of factors predictive of hospital admission should expedite ED care to sickle cell patients

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