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Int J Hematol. 2012 Dec;96(6):710-8. doi: 10.1007/s12185-012-1204-9. Epub 2012 Nov 6.

Adverse neurological outcomes in Nigerian children with sickle cell disease.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.


Sickle cell disease (SCD) is reported to be the most common genetic disorder affecting Nigerians. Children with SCD are at a high risk of neurological morbidity. The main objective of this study was to determine the pattern of adverse neurological outcomes among a cohort of Nigerian children with SCD. All children with SCD seen in the Department of Paediatrics, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria, over a period of 2 years were carefully evaluated for symptoms and signs of neurological complications, defined as clinical outcomes referable to the central nervous system. Of the 214 children evaluated, 187 were diagnosed with Hb SS disease and 27 with Hb SC disease. Neurological complications were identified in 78 (36.4 %) of the cases. The most common complications were headache (17.8 %), seizure (9.3 %) and stroke (8.4 %). Other less frequent complications included bacterial meningitis (2.8 %), spontaneous visual loss (1.4 %), paraplegia (0.9 %) and transient ischaemic attacks (0.9 %). Neurological complications occurred more frequently in children with sickle cell anaemia than in those with Hb SC disease (P = 0.002, 95 % CI 1.450-82.870). Adverse neurological events are common in Nigerian children with SCD, with a significantly higher risk in Hb SS than Hb SC disease. Stroke represents a major underlying cause of symptomatic epilepsy in SCD. Institution of primary preventive measures for stroke in SCD will significantly reduce the burden of stroke and epilepsy associated with SCD in Nigeria.

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