Emergency department visits by adolescent and young adult cancer patients compared with pediatric cancer patients in the United States

Sapna Kaul, Heidi Russell, John A. Livingston, Anne C. Kirchhoff, Daniel Jupiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Limited information exists on emergency department (ED) visits for adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients with cancer. We examined the clinical reasons for ED visits, and outcomes, for AYAs with cancer compared to pediatric cancer patients. Methods: The 2013 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample data were used to identify 53,274 AYA (ages 15-39) and 6952 pediatric (ages 0-14) cancer ED visits. We evaluated patient (i.e., demographic and diagnosis) and hospital characteristics, and the ED event outcome (admitted to the same hospital or treated/released). Clinical reasons for visits were identified as procedures, infections, or noninfectious toxicities. Variables were compared between groups using chi-squared tests. Logistic regressions identified characteristics associated with the outcome between and within groups. Results: AYA cancer visits were more likely to be self-paid (15.8% vs. 1.9%, p < 0.001), and be from low-income households and nonmetro counties than pediatric visits. Toxicity was the most prevalent reason for AYA visits (46.0%) and infections for pediatrics (47.3%, p < 0.001). AYA cancer visits were less likely to be admitted (OR = 0.84, 95% CI = 0.71-0.98; p = 0.03) than pediatric cancer. Among AYAs, self-paid visits were less likely to be admitted compared with privately insured visits (OR = 0.58, 95% CI: 0.52-0.66, p < 0.001). Self-pay did not affect the outcome for pediatric visits. Conclusions: In the United States, compared with pediatric cancer patients, AYAs with cancer visit EDs more often for toxicity-related problems, and are more often self-paid and from poorer households. These distinctive features impacting health service use should be incorporated into care plans aimed at delineating effective care for these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-564
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • NEDS
  • adolescent and young adult cancer
  • emergency department visits
  • pediatric cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Oncology


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