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scientific articles

Low forced expiratory volume is associated with earlier death in sickle cell anemia

key information

source: Blood

year: 2015

authors: Kassim AA, Payne AB, Rodeghier M, Macklin EA, Strunk RC, DeBaun MR


Pulmonary complications result in mortality in adults with sickle cell anemia (SCA). We tested the hypothesis that abnormal pulmonary function was associated with earlier death. A prospective cohort of adults with SCA, followed in the Cooperative Study for Sickle Cell Disease, was constructed using the first pulmonary function test at >21 years of age. Spirometry measures: forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced vital capacity, and total lung capacity were categorized based on age, gender, height, and race. Pulmonary function patterns were categorized based on the American Thoracic Society guidelines using both spirometry and lung volumes. A cohort of 430 adults with SCA, mean age 32.6 ± 9.5 (range, 21.0-67.8) years at time of first pulmonary function test, and a median follow-up of 5.5 years, was evaluated. A total of 63 deaths occurred. At baseline, 47% had normal, 29% restrictive, 8% obstructive, 2% mixed, and 14% nonspecific lung function patterns. In the final multivariable model, lower FEV1 percent predicted was associated with increased hazard ratio of death (HR per % predicted 1.02; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.00-1.04; P = .037), as was older age (HR 1.07; 95% CI 1.04-1.10; P < .001), male sex (HR 2.09; 95% CI 1.20-3.65; P = .010), higher lactate dehydrogenase levels (HR per mg/dL 1.002; 95% CI 1.00-1.003; P = .015), and higher acute chest syndrome incidence rate (HR per event/year 10.4; 95% CI 3.11-34.8; P < .001). Presence of obstructive (HR 1.18; 95% CI: 0.44-3.20; P = .740) and restrictive (HR 1.31; 95% CI: 0.64-2.32; P = .557) pulmonary function patterns were not associated with earlier death. Understanding the pathophysiology of a low FEV1 percent predicted in individuals with SCA is warranted, enabling early intervention for those at risk.

organization: Vanderbilt-Meharry Center of Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston; Rodeghier Consultants, Chicago; Washington University School of Medicine

DOI: 10.1182/blood-2015-05-644435

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