THURSDAY, Sept. 22, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Use of transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasound screening and hydroxyurea therapy remains low for children with sickle cell disease (SCA), according to a study published in the Sept. 20 Advance Issue of the Centers for Disease Control and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Laura A. Shive, PhD, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the IBM MarketScan Multi-State Medicaid database and examined TCD screening and hydroxyurea use in 3,352 children and adolescents with SCA aged 2 to 16 years.

The researchers found that TCD screening increased by 27 percent among children and adolescents aged 10 to 16 between 2014 and 2019, and that hydroxyurea use increased by 27 and 23 percent among children aged 2 to 9 and 10 to 16 years respectively. In 2019, only 47 and 38 percent of children aged 2 to 9 and 10 to 16 were screened for TCD, and 38 and 53 percent, respectively, used hydroxyurea. Use was highest among children and adolescents with high levels of health care use and evidence of prior complications suggesting severe disease for both prevention strategies.

“Even among the groups with the highest levels of use (younger children with signs of severe disease for TCD screening and older children and adolescents with signs of severe disease for hydroxyurea), a significant proportion of children and adolescents for whom these interventions are indicated did not receive them.” — the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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