Daniel Brookoff, MD, PhD; Rosemary Polomano, MSN
▪ Objective: To assess the effect of a structured analgesic regimen on hospital use by patients with sickle cell disease.
▪ Intervention: Intravenous and oral controlled-release morphine was used instead of intramuscular meperidine and short-acting oral opioids for the treatment of sickle cell pain.
▪ Design: Time series in which emergency and admission records for four 6-month periods before and two 6-month periods after the institution of the new analgesic protocol were reviewed.
▪ Setting: Inner-city university hospital providing care for adults with sickle cell disease.
▪ Patients: All patients (an average of 50) who used the emergency department or the inpatient medical service for treatment of sickle cell crisis during the study periods.
▪ Measurements and Main Results: The number of admissions for sickle cell pain decreased by 44%, total inpatient days by 57%, length of hospital stay by 23%, and the number of emergency department visits by 67% after initiation of the morphine protocol. Hospital use remained at these lower levels one year later. Similar declines were seen for a subset of 15 patients who had a history of frequent admissions for sickle cell pain and who used this hospital exclusively and accounted for more than half of the admissions for sickle cell disease.
▪ Conclusion: A pain-control program modeled on regimens used to treat chronic cancer pain reduced hospital use by adult patients with sickle cell pain.
Brookoff D, Polomano R. Treating Sickle Cell Pain like Cancer Pain. Ann Intern Med. ;116:364–368. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-116-5-364
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1992;116(5):364-368.
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