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J Pediatr. 1992 Mar;120(3):360-6.

Stroke in a cohort of patients with homozygous sickle cell disease.

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Department of Child Health, University of the West Indies, Jamaica.


Strokes occurred in 17 of 310 children with homozygous sickle cell disease who were followed from birth, representing an incidence of 7.8% by the age of 14 years. Two children had subarachnoid hemorrhage, one having resolution of symptoms after aneurysm surgery and another dying of a presumed second hemorrhage 14 days later. The remaining 15 strokes were presumed to be cerebral infarction, although autopsy, angiographic, or computed tomographic evidence was available in only 8 children. There were 6 deaths, 2 in the acute event and 4 after recurrence, which occurred in 6 (46%) of 13 patients who survived the initial episode. There were 10 recurrent episodes at a median interval of 9 months after the initial event. Steady-state hematologic data revealed significantly higher leukocyte counts than in control subjects without strokes at age 1 year and in the last study preceding the stroke. The initial stroke coincided with an acutely lowered hemoglobin value in 5 patients (3 aplastic crises, 1 acute splenic sequestration, 1 probable pulmonary sequestration) and with painful crises in another 7 patients. We conclude that a high leukocyte count and an acute decrease of hemoglobin are risk factors for stroke in patients with homozygous sickle cell disease.

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