Acute chest syndrome (ACS) is a major complication of sickle cell anaemia (SCA) and a leading cause for hospital admissions and death. We aimed to study the spectrum of clinical and laboratory features of ACS and to assess the predisposing factors and predictors of severity. A retrospective case-control cohort was studied by retrieving patient information from electronic medical records after ethical approval. One hundred adolescents and adults with SCA and hospital admissions for ACS were identified through the discharge summaries, along with 20 additional patients presenting with VOC, but without ACS (controls). Among the patients with ACS, fever (>38.5 °C), reduced oxygen saturation (<95) and asplenia significantly differed when compared to those of controls (p < 0.05, chi-squared test). The degree of severity was reflected in the use of non-invasive ventilation (NIV), simple and exchange transfusions, and the presence of bilateral pleural effusions and multi-lobar atelectasis/consolidation, which were significantly higher in the cases with ACS than in the controls. Lower haemoglobin (Hb) and high WBC counts were also significantly different between the two groups (p < 0.05, Student’s t test). Using logistic regression, our study further demonstrated that asplenia, fever, and reduced O2 saturation, along with low Hb and leukocytosis, were important predictors for the development of ACS.
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