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J Urol. 1993 Nov;150(5 Pt 1):1480-2.

Association of sickle cell disease, priapism, exchange transfusion and neurological events: ASPEN syndrome.

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Department of Urology, Schneider Children's Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, New York.


Priapism and acute neurological events are believed to be unrelated complications of sickle cell hemoglobinopathy. We describe a syndrome based on our experience and a review of the literature of significant neurological events after partial exchange transfusion to treat priapism in sicklemic patients. Severe headache is often the initiating symptom of this complex. The ensuing neurological events range from seizure activity to obtundation requiring ventilatory support. The proposed pathophysiology of these neurological events is related to cerebral ischemia after an acute increase in per cent total hemoglobin, concomitant decrease in per cent hemoglobin S and subsequent release of vasoactive substances during penile detumescence. We have termed this constellation of events the ASPEN syndrome, an eponym for association of sickle cell disease, priapism, exchange transfusion and neurological events. Early recognition and aggressive medical management resulted in complete reversal of neurological sequela.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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