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Original Investigation
Pediatric Quality Measures
June 2016

Transcranial Doppler Screening Among Children and Adolescents With Sickle Cell Anemia

Author Affiliations
  • 1Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit, Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
JAMA Pediatr. 2016;170(6):550-556. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.4859
Abstract

Importance  With transcranial Doppler (TCD) screening, we can identify children and adolescents with sickle cell anemia who are at the highest risk of stroke. An accurate claims-based method for identifying children and adolescents with sickle cell anemia was recently developed and validated that establishes the necessary groundwork to enable large population-based assessments of health services utilization among children and adolescents with sickle cell anemia using administrative claims data.

Objective  To assess the feasibility of using administrative claims data to identify and describe the receipt of TCD screening among children and adolescents with sickle cell anemia and to characterize opportunities for intervention.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Retrospective cross-sectional study using Medicaid claims data from 2005 to 2010. Medicaid claims data were obtained from the following states: Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, South Carolina, and Texas. Children and adolescents 2 to 16 years of age with sickle cell anemia were identified by the presence of 3 or more Medicaid claims with a diagnosis of sickle cell anemia within a calendar year (2005-2010). A total of 4775 children and adolescents contributed 10 787 person-years throughout the study period. Data were analyzed in 2015. A subset of children and adolescents enrolled for 2 or more consecutive years was identified to examine potential predictors of TCD screening, which included age, sex, previous receipt of TCD screening, state of residence, and health services utilization (well-child visits, outpatient visits, emergency department visits, and inpatient visits).

Main Outcomes and Measures  Receipt of TCD screening was assessed by year and state. Using logistic regression with generalized estimating equations, we included associated predictors in a multivariable model to estimate odds of TCD screening.

Results  For a total of 4775 children and adolescents 2 to 16 years of age, TCD screening rates increased over the 6-year study period from 22% to 44% (P < .001); rates varied substantially across states. A subset of 2388 children and adolescents with sickle cell anemia (50%) was enrolled for 2 or more consecutive years. Each year of increasing age was associated with 3% lower odds of TCD screening (odds ratio, 0.97 [95% CI, 0.95-0.98]; P = .002). Previous receipt of TCD screening (odds ratio, 2.44 [95% CI, 2.11-2.81]; P < .001) and well-child visits (odds ratio, 1.10 [95% CI, 1.03-1.18]; P = .007) were associated with higher odds of receiving a TCD screening.

Conclusions and Relevance  Despite national recommendations, TCD screening rates remain low. Successful strategies to improve TCD screening rates may capitalize on the numerous health care interactions among children and adolescents with sickle cell anemia.

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