THURSDAY, Sept. 22, 2022 (HealthDay News) — For children with sickle cell anemia (SCA), transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasound screening and hydroxyurea therapy use remains low, according to research published in the Sept. 20 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Laura A. Schieve, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the IBM MarketScan Multi-State Medicaid Database and examined TCD screening and hydroxyurea use for 3,352 children and adolescents with SCA aged 2 to 16 years.

The researchers found that TCD screening increased 27 percent among children and adolescents aged 10 to 16 years during 2014 to 2019, and hydroxyurea use increased 27 and 23 percent among children aged 2 to 9 and 10 to 16 years, respectively. Only 47 and 38 percent of children aged 2 to 9 and 10 to 16 years, respectively, had received TCD screening in 2019, and 38 and 53 percent, respectively, used hydroxyurea. Usage was highest among children and adolescents with high levels of health care utilization and evidence of previous complications indicative of severe disease for both prevention strategies.

“Even among groups with the highest usage rates (younger children with an indication of severe disease for TCD screening and older children and adolescents with an indication of severe disease for hydroxyurea) a substantial proportion of children and adolescents for whom these interventions are indicated were not receiving them,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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