Longer Transfer Gap to Adult Care Increases Inpatient Encounters in Sickle Cell Disease

Young adults with transfer gaps of six months or more have increase in rate of hospitalization, ED encounters
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

FRIDAY, May 31, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- For young adults (YAs) with sickle cell disease (SCD), a longer transfer gap is associated with increased inpatient encounters and decreased outpatient encounters in adult health care, according to a study published online May 29 in Blood Advances.

Kristen E. Howell, Ph.D., M.P.H., from Texas A&M University in College Station, and colleagues estimated the association between transfer gaps after completion of pediatric care and the rate of inpatient, emergency department, and outpatient visits among patients with SCD. Health care utilization was assessed in a mid-South comprehensive program for up to eight years from 2012 to 2020. Overall, 183 YAs with SCD transferred to adult health care between 2012 and 2018.

The researchers found that YAs with transfer gaps of six or more versus less than two months had 2.01 and 1.89 times greater rates of hospitalizations in the eight-year follow-up and when restricted to the first two years of adult health care, respectively. Those with transfer gaps of six or more versus less than two months had a 1.75 times higher rate of emergency department encounters in the first two years of adult care. The rate of outpatient visits was 0.71 times greater for those with gaps at two or more to less than six months versus less than two months.

"SCD transition programs should incorporate these findings into their curriculum and strive for transfer gaps as short as possible (ideally shorter than two months) and no longer than six months," the authors write.

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