Infusion Centers: Are They the Future of Sickle Cell Crisis Care?
According to a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, patients with
Sickle Cell Disease who are experiencing a vaso-occlusive crisis, or a pain crisis, may be able to receive better and faster treatment at an infusion center compared to an emergency department (ED).
A pain crisis is a result of clogged up cells in the blood vessels which creates clogging and
eventually leads to extreme pain and possible organ damage. At infusion centers, sickle cell patients are able to have faster access to pain medication, often resulting in lower rates of hospital admission. In comparison, at an infusion center patients were able to receive their first dose of medication in an average of 62 minutes compared to 132 minutes at an emergency department. Additionally, doctors were 3.8 times more likely to reassess a patient’s pain within 30 minutes, following treatment guidelines, allowing patients to be 4 times more likely to be discharged from the infusion centers.
Another factor that sets infusion centers apart from emergency centers is the treatment of
patients. At emergency departments, patients are often denied higher doses of medication due to racial bias and misconceptions. However, at infusion centers, patients' pain are often reassessed and given the proper dosage needed.
With the scarcity of infusion centers, it is important to ensure that EDs follow treatment
guidelines and properly triage SCD patients to provide them with rapid and appropriate care.
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