Surgery and anesthesia in sickle cell disease

Journal Article

From 1978 to 1988. The Cooperative Study of Sickle Cell Disease observed 3,765 patients with a mean follow-up of 5.3 ± 2.0 years. One thousand seventy-nine surgical procedures were conducted on 717 patients (77% sickle cell anemia [SS], 14% sickle hemoglobin C disease [SC], 5.7% Sβ0 thalassemia, 3% Sβ+ thalassemia). Sixty-nine percent had a single procedure, 21% had two procedures, and the remaining 11% had more than two procedures during the study follow-up. The most frequent procedure was abdominal surgery for cholecystectomy or splenectomy (24% of all surgical procedures, N = 258). Of these, 93% received blood transfusion, and there was no association between preoperative hemoglobin A level end complication rates (except reduction in pain crisis). Overall mortality within 30 days of a surgical procedure was 1.1% (12 deaths after 1,079 surgical procedures). Three deaths were considered to be related to the surgical procedure and/or anesthesia (0.3%). No deaths were reported in patients younger than 14 years of age. Sickle cell disease (SCD)-related complications after surgery were more frequent in SS patients who received regional compared with general anesthesia (adjusted for risk level of the surgical procedure, patient age, and preoperative transfusion status, P = .058). Non-SCD-related postoperative complications were higher in both SS and SC patients who received regional compared with those who received general anesthesia (P = .095). Perioperative transfusion was associated with a lower rate of SCD-related postoperative complications for SS patients undergoing low-risk procedures (P = .006, adjusted for age and type of anesthesia), with crude rates of 12.9% without transfusion compared with 4.8% with transfusion. In SC patients, preoperative transfusion was beneficial for all surgical risk levels (P = .009). Thus, surgical procedures can be performed safely in patients with SCD.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Koshy, M; Weiner, SJ; Miller, ST; Sleeper, LA; Vichinsky, E; Brown, AK; Khakoo, Y; Kinney, TR; Johnson, R; McMahon, L; Platt, O; Gill, F; Ohene-Frempong, K; Bray, G; Kelleher, J; Leikin, S; Lubin, B; Bank, A; Piomelli, S

Published Date

  • 1995

Published In

  • Blood

Volume / Issue

  • 86 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 3676 - 3684

PubMed ID

  • 7579333