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Mil Med. 1996 Dec;161(12):766-7.

Exertional collapse and sudden death associated with sickle cell trait.

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Martin Army Community Hospital, Fort Benning, GA 31905, USA.


The most serious complication of sickle cell trait (SCT) is sudden death during exertion. SCT often remains unrecognized in the 2.5 million African Americans affected. Exertional collapse and sudden death associated with SCT is characterized by rhabdomyolysis, heat stroke, and cardiac arrhythmia. There is a 40-fold increased risk of sudden death in affected soldiers during military basic training and there are many cases reported in athletes during preseason training. There have been no cases reported in soldiers beyond basic training. In the case presented, a soldier with 3 years of military service succumbed to SCT-associated sudden death during physical fitness testing.

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