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Sickle Cell Trait Increases Risk of Blood Clots in Blacks

Disease shown to increase risk of venous thromboembolism and pulmonary embolism

FRIDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Blacks with the sickle cell trait have an increased risk of venous thromboembolism and pulmonary embolism, according to a study published in the Aug. 1 issue of Blood.

Harland Austin, D.Sc., from Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues examined whether the sickle cell trait affected the risk of venous thromboembolism in 515 black patients hospitalized with thromboembolism and 555 black control patients.

The researchers found that the prevalence of the hemoglobin S allele was significantly higher than that of the C allele in the hospitalized patients (0.070 versus 0.032). The prevalence of sickle cell disease was also higher. Having the sickle cell trait increased the risk of venous thromboembolism (odds ratio 1.8) and pulmonary embolism (odds ratio 3.9).

"We conclude that sickle cell trait is a risk factor for venous thromboembolism and that the proportion of venous thromboembolism among blacks attributable to the mutation is approximately 7 percent," Austin and colleagues conclude.

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