Background: Patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) experience a broad range of mental health disorders placing them at risk for more complicated hospitalizations for pain. The current study examined the impact of mental health disorders on admission rates and hospital length of stay (LOS) for vaso-occlusive pain events (VOE) in pediatric patients with SCD.
Procedure: Patients (5-18 years old) with a primary discharge diagnosis of SCD with crisis were acquired through the Pediatric Health Information System and categorized by history of mental health disorders (mood disorder, anxiety disorder, disruptive behavior disorder, and substance use disorder). Using a retrospective cohort design, hospital admission rates for VOE were examined as the primary outcome and LOS as a secondary outcome.
Results: A total of 5,825 patients accounted for 23,561 admissions for SCD with crisis with approximately 8% of the patients having a mental health diagnosis. Longer LOS was found among patients with a history of any mental health diagnosis (P < 0.0001) and within the mood disorder (P < 0.0001), anxiety disorder (P < 0.0001), and substance use disorder (P = 0.01) subtypes. Hospital admissions rates for VOE were higher among patients with a history of any mental health diagnosis (P < 0.0001) and within the mood disorder (P < 0.0001), anxiety disorder (P < 0.0001), disruptive behavior disorder (P = 0.002), and substance use disorder (P < 0.0001) subtypes.
Conclusions: Pediatric patients with SCD and a history of a mental health diagnosis have longer LOS and higher admission rates for management of VOE. Ultimately, these findings suggest that mental health pose a challenge to the management of sickle cell pain.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.