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Deprivation, risk of emergency readmission and inpatient mortality in people with sickle cell disease

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a frequent cause of emergency readmissions. In a paper published in the Journal of Public Health, Ghida Aljuburi and colleages examined trends in SCD emergency readmissions and inpatient mortality in England in relation to socio-economic status.

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.

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  also highest in patients living in the most deprived areas [hazard ratio (HR) 2.34, 95% CI 1.41–3.90].

We concluded that 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.

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