Little is known about adherence to guidelines recommending yearly screening with transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasonography to detect stroke risk for children with severe sickle cell disease. The objective was to determine the proportion of children with hemoglobin SS (HbSS) or sickle-β(0) -thalassemia (HbSβ(0) ) aged 2-16 years who received recommended TCD screening from 1997 to 2008, and to identify factors associated with adherence.
A retrospective cohort study included patients enrolled in Tennessee Medicaid with HbSS or HbSβ(0) who received care at the two largest sickle cell centers in Tennessee. The outcome of interest was adherence with guidelines for annual screening TCD's, identified from computer claims and validated through medical record review. The cumulative rate of children who received a TCD per year was calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to examine the association of child, family, and health care use characteristics with receiving a TCD.
Among 338 TCD eligible at-risk children, 232 (68.6%) had at least one TCD during the study period. The yearly cumulative incidence of annual TCD's increased from 2.5% in 1997 to 68.3% in 2008. In multivariate models, calendar year, maternal education, and increased number of sickle cell related outpatient visits were associated with an increased rate of receiving a TCD.
Publicly insured children with HbSS or HbSβ(0) had increasing adherence with TCD screening guidelines between 1997 and 2008, though 31% had no TCD at all during follow-up. Increasing number of sickle cell related outpatient visits was associated with increasing adherence to screening guidelines.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Incidence of stroke in sickle cell disease (SCD) has declined with the use of transcranial Doppler ultrasound and chronic transfusion therapy. There is little information regarding their use in genotypes other than HbSS and HbSβ. Silent cerebral infarcts (SCIs) have been identified by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in SCD patients and it is believed that these may increase the risk of overt stroke. No evidence-based guidelines exist regarding MRI screening for SCIs. Hydroxyurea is a standard therapy in patients with history of acute chest syndrome and severe, recurrent, SCD-associated pain episodes, but has not been established for use with other sickle-associated morbidities. A total of 102 institutions received a survey (with 62 responses) to assess the use of transcranial Doppler ultrasound for stroke screening, use of screening MRI for SCIs, and institutional patterns for prescribing hydroxyurea. Nineteen percent of institutions screen genotypes other than HbSS and HbSβ, and 24% use MRI to screen for SCIs. Twenty-six percent of institutions prescribed hydroxyurea in patient found to have SCIs. Results indicate significant variation in stroke screening and hydroxyurea use often correlating with clinic size, number of physician providers, and geographic location. There are currently no evidence-based guidelines to support many of these practices.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The risk of stroke for a child with SCD is many times greater than that of a healthy child without SCD or heart disease. There is a technique that allows the identification of the children with SCD who have high risk even within this relatively high-risk group. And there is a highly effective preventive treatment. While this would on the surface appear to be a straightforward medical decision, it is not. One must weigh the benefits of preventing permanent brain damage against the risks of infection from transfused blood, iron overload, which is the result of the frequent transfusions, and rare transfusion reactions.
The Journal of Law Medicine & Ethics 06/2014; 42(2). DOI:10.1111/jlme.12128 · 1.10 Impact Factor
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