Background: Acute pain episodes in children with sickle cell disease (SCD) represent a leading cause of readmissions. We examined prescription practices at the time of discharge in children with SCD presenting with acute pain to determine their impact on 30-day emergency department (ED) revisits and readmissions. Methods: In this single-institution, 5-year retrospective study, we reviewed 290 encounters of patients with SCD aged 7–21 years hospitalized or discharged from the ED with acute pain. We reviewed demographic, treatment and discharge data, and 30-day returns, defined as ED revisits and readmissions within 30 days of discharge. Bivariate and multivariable analyses were performed to evaluate the association between discharge prescription practices and 30-day returns. Results: Compared to hospitalizations, treat-and-release ED visits for acute pain were associated with a higher incidence of 30-day returns (OR = 2.7 [95% CI: 1.5–4.8], P < 0.01). We found no association between prescribed opioid frequency (scheduled vs. as-needed) and 30-day returns (OR = 1.12 [95% CI: 0.62–2.02], P = 0.70). By multivariable logistic regression, the prescription of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) only, without opioids, after treat-and-release ED visits was independently associated with a higher frequency of 30-day ED revisits (OR = 6.9 [95% CI: 1.3–37.3], P = 0.03) but not readmissions. Conclusion: Variability exists in opioid prescription practices after discharge in children with SCD and pain episodes. Prescription of NSAIDs only, without opioids, was an independent predictor of higher 30-day ED revisits. Formalized studies to better understand factors that influence returns, including outpatient opioid management, are warranted in this population.
- pain crises
- sickle cell disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health