Background: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a cause of frequent emergency readmissions. We examined trends in SCD emergency readmissions and inpatient mortality in England in relation to socio-economic status.
Methods: Data from Hospital Episode Statistics were extracted for all SCD patients admitted in 2005/06. The financial year 2005/06 was taken as the index year for analysis. We calculated readmission rates and inpatient mortality for patients admitted with a primary or secondary diagnosis of sickle cell anaemia with crisis and without crisis in the index year during the subsequent 5 years (2006/07-2010/11). Charlson Score was used to measure comorbidity. Using Cox proportional hazards models, we also examined the relationship between patient characteristics and both emergency readmissions and inpatient mortality.
Results: In 2005/06, there were 7679 SCD index admissions. Over the subsequent 5-year period, patients living in the most socio-economically deprived areas were at highest risk of readmission (54.2% readmitted over the study period compared with 28% of the least deprived group). Inpatient mortality amongst readmissions was highest in patients living in the most deprived areas [hazard ratio (HR) 2.34, 95% CI 1.41-3.90].
Conclusion: SCD patients from the most socio-economically deprived areas and with comorbidities are at highest risk of both SCD readmissions and in-hospital mortality, suggesting that there are inequalities in healthcare access and health outcomes amongst people with SCD.
Keywords: chronic disease; management and policy; socioeconomics factors.