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scientific articles

Vaso-occlusive episodes in older children with sickle cell disease: emergency department management and pain assessment

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source: The Journal of Pediatrics

year: 2008

authors: Frei-Jones MJ, Baxter AL, Rogers ZR, Buchanan GR


To describe emergency department (ED) management of older children with sickle cell disease (SCD) experiencing a vaso-occlusive episode (VOE) and factors associated with disposition and ED return.

We retrospectively reviewed ED visits of children age >/=8 years with SCD over the course of 1 year. Data were collected from the electronic medical record and the SCD database.

VOE was diagnosed 279 times in 105 patients; 45 of the patients had 1 ED visit, 25 had 2 ED visits, and 16 had >/=5 ED visits. The overall admission rate was 178/279 (64%), 166 on the first ED visit and 12 on a return visit within 72 hours. Use of home opioids, duration of VOE, and hemoglobin concentration were not associated with disposition. Discharge after 2 doses of intravenous (IV) morphine occurred in 33 patients. Pain relief after 1 dose, using a FACES scale of 1 to 5, differed significantly between the admitted patients and the discharged patients (1.1 vs 2.5; P < .0001).

Suboptimal pain relief after 1 dose of IV morphine was associated with admission from the ED. Further investigation of pain relief, using validated pain assessment scales, as an outcome in VOE management is warranted.

organization: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas; Children's Medical Center, Dallas

DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2007.06.040

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