Blood Test Useful to Predict Sickle Cell Complications

High LDH levels correlate with hypertension, leg ulcers, priapism

TUESDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- A simple test for serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) is useful in predicting serious complications from sickle cell disease, according to a report in the March 15 issue of Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology.

Gregory J. Kato, M.D., of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues stratified 213 adult patients with sickle cell disease into low, medium and high groups based on their serum LDH levels. The upper limit of LDH in healthy adults is 200 IU/L (international units per liter), while the high group in this study had levels ranging from 512 to 1,171 IU/L.

LDH is thought to be released from fragile red blood cells in sickle cell patients. Serum LDH correlated with the presence of other hemolytic markers, including nitric oxide resistance, high reticulocyte counts, increased plasma hemoglobin and bilirubin, and low levels of red blood cell-specific hemoglobin. The investigators also found that LDH levels correlated with a medical history of complications that included hypertension, leg ulcerations and priapism.

"LDH appears to hold great promise as an effective prognostic indicator and biomarker of a hemolytic mechanism of vascular pathobiology in patients with sickle cell disease," the authors write.

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