Blog | Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pediatric diseases, adult patients

At a Thursday session on caring for adult survivors of pediatric diseases, Bradley J. Benson, FACP, and Niraj Sharma, FACP, had some interesting statistics to share. For example, more than 90% of children with a chronic or disabling health condition are expected to live more than 20 years, meaning they’ll eventually need an internist’s care, and more than 500,000 children with special health care needs turn 18 every year. As Dr. Sharma noted, “We’re not talking about a handful of folks.”

Some other statistics:
--Approximately 50% of patients with cystic fibrosis are 21 or older.
--More than 80% of children with spina bifida reach adulthood.
--80% of children who get cancer will become long-term survivors.
--20% of female Hodgkin’s survivors develop breast cancer by age 40.

Drs. Benson and Sharma stressed the importance of developing a comprehensive plan to transition survivors of childhood diseases from pediatricians to internists, something the patient-centered medical home concept could help accomplish.