Foetal haemoglobin (HbF) status in adult sickle cell anaemia patients in Ibadan, Nigeria
Aim: - Elevated HbF, among other biological and environmental factors, is responsible for decrease in mortality in sickle cell anaemia (SCA). This study determined the levels of HbF in adult SCA patients in steady state compared with HbAA controls. HbF was discussed in line with the clinical course of the disease so as to emphasize the relevance of hydroxyurea in the management of adult SCA patients.
Materials and methods: - The HbF levels of 66 confirmed SCA patients and 31 HbAA controls were estimated using Betke method and HbF percentage was calculated using formula: %HbF percentage = A413 filtrate x 100A413 standard x 20.
Result: - A statistical significant difference in the mean of the levels of HbF in patients (5.16±4.04) compared to controls (1.04±0.44) (p = 0.000) was observed. The mean levels of HbF for males (4.71±3.49) compared to that of females (4.99) were statistically similar (p =0.773). It was also observed that the mean HbF level appears to be declining as age advances. SCA patients were classified to three categories viz: HbF <2% (21.2% SCA patients); HbF of 2.1% -10%, (68.2% SCA patients); and HbF of 10.1% -16%, (10.6% SCA patients).
Conclusion: - Substantial proportion of our patients actually will require treatment with hydroxylurea to stimulate HbF production especially those with HbF percentage of <2 and some with HbF percentage of 2.1 – 10%. HPFH may be considered rare since only 10. 6% had HbF at the range of 10.1-16%. This study showed that in treating our SCA patients in Nigeria we need to adopt and encourage the use of HbF activating agents like hydroxyurea or any other safe agent that will be found to stimulate HbF production in SCD patients.
Keywords: Sickle cell anaemia, HbF levels, Hydroxyurea use