Predicting risk factors for thromboembolic complications in patients with sickle cell anaemia – lessons learned for prophylaxis

Salam Alkindi*, Anwaar R. Al-Ghadani, Samah R. Al-Zeheimi, Said Y. Alkindi, Naglaa Fawaz, Samir K. Ballas, Anil V. Pathare

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: To assess the clinical and laboratory predictors of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in patients with sickle cell anaemia (SCA) and its relationship to morbidity and mortality. Methods: This retrospective case–control study analysed data from patients with SCA that experienced VTE compared with matched control patients with SCA but no VTE (2:1 ratio). Results: A total of 102 patients with SCA were enrolled (68 cases with VTE and 34 controls). Amongst the 68 cases (median age, 29.5 years), 26 (38.2%) presented with isolated pulmonary embolism (PE). A higher prevalence of splenectomy (73.5% versus 35.3%) was observed in the cases compared with the controls. A significantly higher prevalence of central venous catheter (CVC) insertion (42.6% versus 8.8%) was observed in the cases compared with the controls. High white blood cell counts, serum lactic dehydrogenase (LDH), bilirubin and C-reactive protein (CRP) and low haemoglobin (Hb) and HbF were significant risk factors for VTE. Forty-two cases (61.8%) developed acute chest syndrome, 10 (14.7%) had a stroke and seven (10.3%) died. Conclusions: VTE in patients with SCA has a high impact on morbidity and mortality. PE was the leading presentation of VTE, with CVC insertion, high LDH, bilirubin, CRP and white blood cell counts along with low Hb and HbF constituting other significant risk factors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Medical Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Venous thromboembolism
  • pulmonary embolism
  • sickle cell disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Cell Biology

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