The older sickle cell patient

Thomas D.H. McKerrell, Hillel W. Cohen, Henny H. Billett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The lifespan of sickle cell patients has increased substantially. We chose to compare the attributes of older sickle cell patients with younger ones within the confines of a single institutional study serving the local Bronx population. Laboratory and clinical assessments from 40 patients with sickle cell disease over 40 years of age were compared to 40 patients under 30 years of age. When the older group was compared to the younger group, hemoglobin, indirect bilirubin, and platelet counts were significantly lower. Creatinine clearances were lower and BUN levels were higher in the older group. Although the prevalence of radiographically measured cardiomegaly was significantly higher in the older group, systolic and diastolic blood pressures remained unchanged. The number of crises and number of admissions were higher in the younger group than in the older, but there was wide variation, and no significant differences could be detected; days spent in hospital over the previous 2 years did not differ. No statistically significant differences were observed for absolute reticulocyte count, MCV, % HbF, white cell count, liver function tests, or oxygen saturation. Comparing genders within age groups, younger males had higher hemoglobin levels and absolute reticulocyte counts than younger females, while only the older females had higher HbF levels than the corresponding males. Lower levels of hemoglobin associated with older age may reflect decreased hematopoietic potential that may in part be due to decreased renal function. Lower platelet counts in older sickle cell patients may be a consequence of this decreased hematopoietic potential but may also represent a secondary survival benefit effect in sickle cell anemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-106
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Hematology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Hb SS
  • Sickle cell anemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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