Blood transfusion and 30-day readmission rate in adult patients hospitalized with sickle cell disease crisis

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Sickle cell disease (SCD) patients hospitalized with vasoocclusive pain crisis tend to have prolonged length of stay (LOS) and high 30-day readmission rates. We investigated the associations of demographic characteristics, comorbidities, and blood transfusion during hospitalization with these outcomes.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:

Repeated regression analysis was used to analyze 39,324 admissions of 4348 adults with sickle cell crisis from 2007 to 2012 in the Truven Health MarketScan Medicaid Databases.

RESULTS:

The mean (95% range) LOS was 5.9 (1.0–19.0) days and the 30-day readmission rate was 39.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 39.1%-40.0%). Older age; chronic cardiopulmonary, renal, or liver disease; and sepsis were associated with both longer LOS and greater 30-day readmission rate. Female sex, iron overload, acute chest syndrome, acute renal failure, and stroke were additional predictors of longer LOS. Simple red blood cell transfusion was administered in 31.8% of the admissions, and these patients tended to have more severe disease (chronic cardiopulmonary or kidney disease, acute chest syndrome, acute kidney or liver failure, sepsis). Nevertheless, transfusion was associated with a reduced estimated odds ratio (OR) of inpatient mortality of 0.75 (95% CI, 0.57–0.99) and a decreased OR of 30-day readmission of 0.78 (95% CI, 0.73–0.83).

CONCLUSION:

Our findings point to blood transfusion as a potential means to reduce the 30-day readmission rate among Medicaid patients hospitalized with sickle cell crisis. There is a need for a prospective study to examine the potential benefit and safety of simple blood transfusion for this purpose.

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