Vaso-Occlusive Episodes in Older Children with Sickle Cell Disease: Emergency Department Management and Pain Assessment

Melissa J. Frei-Jones, Amy L. Baxter, Zora R. Rogers, George R. Buchanan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe emergency department (ED) management of older children with sickle cell disease (SCD) experiencing a vaso-occlusive episode (VOE) and factors associated with disposition and ED return. Study design: We retrospectively reviewed ED visits of children age ≥8 years with SCD over the course of 1 year. Data were collected from the electronic medical record and the SCD database. Results: VOE was diagnosed 279 times in 105 patients; 45 of the patients had 1 ED visit, 25 had 2 ED visits, and 16 had ≥5 ED visits. The overall admission rate was 178/279 (64%), 166 on the first ED visit and 12 on a return visit within 72 hours. Use of home opioids, duration of VOE, and hemoglobin concentration were not associated with disposition. Discharge after 2 doses of intravenous (IV) morphine occurred in 33 patients. Pain relief after 1 dose, using a FACES scale of 1 to 5, differed significantly between the admitted patients and the discharged patients (1.1 vs 2.5; P < .0001). Conclusion: Suboptimal pain relief after 1 dose of IV morphine was associated with admission from the ED. Further investigation of pain relief, using validated pain assessment scales, as an outcome in VOE management is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-285
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

Cite this