Sickle Cell Disease in the Emergency Department: Complications and Management

Christina M. Barriteau*, Melissa A. McNaull

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Sickle cell disease is the most common blood disorder in the United States, affecting 100 000 people. A genetic mutation creates hemoglobin S. In the deoxygenated state, hemoglobin S polymerizes, creating sickled hemoglobin. Sickled hemoglobin causes a cascade of complex pathophysiologic events that lead to hemolysis, chronic anemia and endothelial damage. This results in clinical complications, end organ dysfunction and a shortened life expectancy. The acute nature of many sickle cell complications makes the emergency department a common setting where sickle cell patients present. Common complications (vaso-occlusive episode, fever, acute chest syndrome, stroke) and less common complications (splenic sequestration, priapism, aplastic crisis, ocular emergencies) will be discussed. Public health implications will be discussed briefly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-109
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • acute chest syndrome
  • anemia
  • aplastic crisis
  • complications
  • priapism
  • sickle cell disease
  • splenic sequestration
  • stroke
  • vaso occlusive crisis
  • vaso occlusive episode

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Emergency Medicine


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