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Asthma Ups Acute Chest Syndrome, Pain in Sickle Cell

Acute chest syndrome and pain are leading causes of hospitalization in sickle cell anemia patients

FRIDAY, Nov. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Children with sickle cell anemia who also have asthma have a higher incidence of acute chest syndrome and pain than those without asthma, researchers report in the Nov. 1 issue of Blood.

Michael DeBaun, M.D., M.P.H., from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues enrolled 291 black infants under 6 months of age with hemoglobin SS and followed them beyond age 5 to measure the incidence of acute chest syndrome (ACS) and pain in asthmatics versus non-asthmatics. ACS and pain are two leading causes for hospitalization of patients with sickle cell anemia.

Approximately 17 percent of subjects were found to have asthma. In addition, those with asthma had an average of 0.39 ACS events and 1.39 painful episodes per year compared to 0.20 ACS events and 0.47 painful episodes for non-asthmatics.

"We provide further evidence that asthma is a potentially treatable risk factor associated with ACS and painful episodes. Future prospective studies to classify lung disease associated with sickle cell anemia and determine the effectiveness of asthma management in preventing sickle cell anemia-related morbidity and mortality are warranted," the authors conclude.

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