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scientific articles

Adult emergency department patients with sickle cell pain crisis: a learning collaborative model to improve analgesic management

key information

source: Academic Emergency Medicine

year: 2010

authors: Tanabe P, Artz N, Mark Courtney D, Martinovich Z, Weiss K B, Zvirbulis E, Hafner J W


The objectives were to report the baseline (prior to quality improvement interventions) patient and visit characteristics and analgesic management practices for each site participating in an emergency department (ED) sickle cell learning collaborative.

A total of 155 patients met study criteria (median age = 32 years, IQR = 24-40 years) with a total of 701 ED visits. Eighty-six interviews were conducted. Most patients (71.6%) had between one and three visits to the ED during the study period. However, after removing Site 3 from the analysis because of the short data enrollment period (3.5 months), which influenced the mean number of visits for the entire cohort, 52% of patients had between one and three ED visits over 10 months, 21% had four to nine visits, and 27% had between 10 and 67 visits. Fifty-nine percent of patients were discharged home. The median time to initial analgesic for the cohort was 74 minutes (IQR = 48-135 minutes). Differences between choice of analgesic agent and route selected were evident between sites. For the cohort, 680 initial analgesic doses were given (morphine sulfate, 42%; hydromorphone, 46%; meperidine, 4%; morphine sulfate and ibuprofen or ketorolac, 7%) using the following routes: oral (2%), intravenous (67%), subcutaneous (3%), and intramuscular (28%). Patients reported a significantly lower targeted discharge pain score (mean +/- SD = 4.19 +/- 1.18) compared to the actual documented discharge pain score within 45 minutes of discharge (mean +/- SD = 5.77 +/- 2.45; mean difference = 1.58, 95% confidence interval = .723 to 2.44, n = 43).

organization: The Institute for Healthcare Studies, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA

DOI: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2010.00693.x.

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