Clinical risks and healthcare utilization of haematopoietic cell transplantation for sickle cell disease in the U.S. using merged databases.
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<p>Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant advances for sickle cell disease improve outcomes, but limited healthcare utilization analysis exists. We hypothesized that early transplant (age < 10 years) improves outcomes and decreases healthcare utilization compared to late. We performed a retrospective study of US children transplanted for sickle cell during 2000-2013 using two large databases. Univariate and Cox models estimated associations between demographics, sickle cell severity, and transplant-related variables on mortality and chronic graft versus-host-disease; while, Wilcoxon, Kruskal-Wallis, or linear trend tests estimated against healthcare utilization. 161 patients with 90% 2-year overall survival (95% confidence interval [CI] 85-95%) displayed significantly higher mortality late versus early (hazard ratio (HR) 21, 95% CI 2.8-160.8, p=0.003) and unrelated compared to matched sibling donor (HR 5.9, 95% CI 1.7-20.2, p=0.005) and chronic graft versus host disease late (HR 1.9, 95% CI 1.0-3.5, p=0.034) and unrelated (HR 2.5, 95%CI 1.2-5.4; p=0.017). 176 merged patients had $467,747 median total adjusted transplant cost per patient (range: $344,029-$799,219). Matched sibling donor and low severity had the lowest healthcare utilization compared to other donor and severity types (p<0.001 and p=0.022, respectively); late transplant demonstrated no association (p=0.775). Patients with 2-yr pre- and post-transplant data (N=41) showed significant admission (p<0.001), length of stay (p<0.001), and cost (p=0.008) reductions. Superior early transplant outcomes require prospective studies in young children without severe disease and an available matched sibling to provide conclusive evidence for this approach. Reduced post-transplant healthcare utilization inpatient care indicates that transplant may provide a sustained decrease in healthcare costs over time.</p>