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J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2019 Nov 14. doi: 10.1097/MPH.0000000000001669. [Epub ahead of print]

Social Determinants of Health and Emergency Department Use Among Children With Sickle Cell Disease.

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Department of Pediatrics, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.


Sickle cell disease (SCD) is associated with disproportionate emergency department (ED) use. This study described the social determinants of health associated with ED visits and hospital admission from the ED among children with SCD using a nationally representative dataset. We analyzed data from 126 children aged 0 to 17 years with SCD included in the 2011 to 2017 rounds of the National Health Interview Survey (mean age, 8 y; 50% female individuals; 74% African American). Study variables were summarized using weighted means and proportions and compared according to ED use and admission by Wald tests. Fifty-two identified children had visited the ED within the last 12 months and 21 were admitted to the hospital after their most recent ED visit. Children living in a single-mother household were more likely to visit the ED (P=0.040), as were younger children (mean age, 6 vs. 9 y; P=0.034), with no evaluated social determinants of health significantly impacting hospital admission from the ED. The lack of association between ED use and either poverty or insurance type may be related to the overall high level of social disadvantage among children with SCD. Our findings demonstrate the need to better characterize specific social factors impacting acute care use among children with SCD.

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