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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 56

of 'Acquired TTP: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis'

Acute multiorgan failure syndrome: a potentially catastrophic complication of severe sickle cell pain episodes.
Hassell KL, Eckman JR, Lane PA
Am J Med. 1994;96(2):155.
The purpose of this report is to characterize the acute multiorgan failure syndrome that complicates some episodes of sickle pain. A retrospective chart review was used to identify episodes of sickle pain complicated by the acute failure of at least two of three organs: lung, liver, or kidney. The defining criteria of organ failure were established, and the clinical characteristics, laboratory values, treatment methods, and outcomes were noted in episodes that met the criteria. Seventeen episodes of acute multiorgan failure were identified in 14 patients, 10 with sickle cell anemia and 4 with hemoglobin SC disease. Most episodes occurred during a pain event that was unusually severe for the patient. The onset of organ failure was associated with fever, rapid fall in hemoglobin level and platelet count, nonfocal encephalopathy, and rhabdomyolysis. Bacterial cultures were negative in all but four episodes. Aggressive transfusion therapy was associated with survival and with rapid recovery of organ function in all but one episode. The syndrome developed in patients who had previously exhibited relatively mild disease with little evidence of chronic organ damage and relatively high hemoglobin values in steady state. Acute multiorgan failure syndrome is a severe, life-threatening complication of pain episodes in patients with otherwise mild sickle cell disease. The syndrome appears to be reversed with prompt, aggressive transfusion therapy. High baseline hemoglobin levels may represent a predisposing factor.
Colorado Sickle Cell Treatment and Research Center, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver.