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guides & guidelines

Management of sickle cell crisis. British Association for Accident and Emergency Medicine guidelines

key information

source: Journal of accident and emergency medicine

year: 1998

authors: Tachakra SS, Davies SC


REMEMBER AT ALL TIMES-The patient or relative generally knows if he/she has sickle cell disease and is usually knowledgeable about the disease. The pain of sickle cell crisis is genuine, can be excruciating, and can be greater than that of childbirth. Sickle cell disease patients often have a higher pain threshold than others.

Those at risk include patients with an ethnic background from Africa, West Indies, India, the Mediterranean, or the Middle East. Sickle cell crisis may present with a variety of clinical syndromes including severe pain in limbs, chest, abdomen, and/or systemic conditions. The pain is often severe but limb, hip or back pains may be vague in the early stages of an attack. The pain is caused by blockage of small vessels by sickled red blood cells. The immediate result of sickling is a reduction in oxygen delivery to tissues. The local fall in oxygen saturation may be precipitated by a number of factors, such as minor infections.

organization: Central Middlesex Hospital, London

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