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Red blood cell transfusion in sickle cell disease

Authors
Michael R DeBaun, MD, MPH
Elliott P Vichinsky, MD
Section Editors
Stanley L Schrier, MD
Donald H Mahoney, Jr, MD
Deputy Editor
Jennifer S Tirnauer, MD

INTRODUCTION

Individuals with sickle cell disease (SCD) have chronic anemia that can worsen abruptly (eg, from splenic sequestration or transient red cell aplasia), and they are at risk of vasoocclusive events (eg, stroke) due to the high concentration of sickle hemoglobin (HgbS) associated with their condition. Transfusion of red blood cells (RBCs) can be life-saving in these settings.

However, transfusion carries risks, many of which are greater in individuals with SCD than in the general population. The approach to transfusion in SCD must balance these benefits and risks, both in decisions regarding when to transfuse and in the practical aspects of how transfusions are administered.

Here we discuss our approach to transfusion and transfusion complications in SCD. The clinical manifestations of SCD, other aspects of SCD management, and more extensive discussions of transfusion-related excessive iron stores are presented separately:

Clinical manifestations (overview) – (See "Overview of the clinical manifestations of sickle cell disease".)

Management (overview) – (See "Overview of the management and prognosis of sickle cell disease".)

                                         

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Tue Aug 09 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2016.
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