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J Blood Med. 2013 May 22;4:59-63. doi: 10.2147/JBM.S42212. Print 2013.

Serum ferritin levels in adults with sickle cell disease in Lagos, Nigeria.

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Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, Lagos State University, College of Medicine, Ikeja, Nigeria.



Serum ferritin is considered to be one of the most important tools in the measurement of iron balance in steady-state sickle cell disease. Increased gastrointestinal absorption of iron has been reported in sickle cell disease because of the associated chronic hemolysis, and it is also thought that repeated red cell transfusion consequent to chronic hemolysis and anemia causes excessive iron levels. The aim of this study was to determine overall and gender-specific mean ferritin levels in patients with steady-state sickle cell disease in order to establish the prevalence of iron deficiency and overload.


This was a cross-sectional study in homozygous patients with sickle cell disease attending the sickle cell clinic at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja. A 5 mL blood sample was collected in plain bottles from consenting participants during steady-state periods. The serum was separated and analyzed for ferritin by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Another 5 mL sample was collected for a full blood count, done on the same day of collection, to determine red blood cell indices, ie, mean cell volume, mean cell hemoglobin concentration, and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration. The Pearson Chi-square test was used for statistical analysis. The differences were considered to be statistically significant when P was <0.05.


In total, 103 patients were recruited for this study and comprised 58 women (56.40%) and 45 men (43.70%). The overall mean ferritin concentration was 93.72 ± 92.24 ng/mL. The mean ferritin concentration in the women was 92.00 ± 88.07 ng/mL and in men was 96.41 ± 99.80 ng/mL. Only eight (7.76%) of the 103 patients had a serum ferritin level < 15 ng/mL, while two subjects (1.94%) had a serum a ferritin level > 300 ng/mL. Ninety-three subjects (90.29%) had serum ferritin within the normal reference range of 15-300 ng/mL.


In this study, 90% of subjects with sickle cell disease had normal iron stores; serum ferritin was higher in men than in women, and iron deficiency was more common than overload in the disease.


serum ferritin levels; sickle cell disease

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