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J Hosp Med. 2011 May;6(5):248-55. doi: 10.1002/jhm.850.

Prediction of onset and course of high hospital utilization in sickle cell disease.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.



Although sickle cell disease (SCD) patients typically manage their pain at home, a small subgroup is frequently hospitalized and accounts for the majority of costs.


1) To identify prospective diagnostic and demographic markers of new periods of high utilization; 2) To identify demographic and diagnostic markers of a persistent rather than moderating course of high utilization; 3) To replicate the finding that high utilization tends to moderate.


The State Inpatient Databases for California, 2004-2007, were used. Patients with new onset periods of high utilization were compared with non-high utilizers, and new high utilizers who moderated were compared with those who had a persistent course.


All hospitals in the state of California.


Patients age 13 years or older in 2004 with a recorded diagnosis of sickle cell disease and at least one hospitalization for crisis during the study period.



Groups from hospitals throughout California were compared on demographics and discharge diagnoses of SCD complications and comorbidities. Patients age 13 years or older in 2004 with a recorded diagnosis of sickle cell disease and at least 1 hospitalization for crisis during the study period were included.


New periods of high utilization were associated with more prior hospitalizations and previous diagnoses of aseptic necrosis and renal disease. High utilization typically moderated. A persistent course was associated with slightly more hospitalizations during the initial year of high utilization, and, subsequently, by more mentions of septicemia and mood disorders.


Overall, high utilization was difficult to predict, as was its course. The diagnoses most associated with high utilization indicated more severe sickle cell disease. Septicemia deserves further investigation as a preventable cause for high utilization, as do mood disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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