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A retrospective quasi-experimental study to determine the impact of hydroxyurea on frequency of blood transfusion in children with sickle cell anaemia

N. Kariuki
P.N. Olielo
D. Wamalwa


Objective: To determine the impact of and adherence to hydroxyurea use over a 6-month period on the frequency of blood transfusion among children (1-18 years) with sickle cell disease (SCD).
Study design, setting and duration: A retrospective quasi-experimental study conducted in a public (Kenyatta National Hospital) and a private (Gertrude’s Garden Children Hospital) hospital setting in Kenya from February to May 2017.
Subjects: Participants were children aged 1-18 years with a diagnosis of sickle cell anaemia confirmed by serum electrophoresis who had been on hydroxyurea treatment for at least 6 months.
Interventions and outcomes: The main intervention and outcome measures were hydroxyurea treatment and frequency of blood transfusion respectively.
Results: A total of 64 children were studied. The mean age was 7.6 years (SD ±3.7). The mean decrease in the number of blood  transfusions during the 6–12-month period after adequate use of hydroxyurea was 0.9 (95% CI 0.7 - 1.2; p < 0.001). Majority of the participants received hydroxyurea dosages of < 20mg/kg/day (51/64; 79.7%), took hydroxyurea as per the prescription (50/64;
78.1%), and didn’t experience any side effects (56/64; 87.5%).
Conclusion: This study suggests that hydroxyurea significantly reduces the frequency of blood transfusions in children aged 1-18 years with minimal sideeffects.

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eISSN: 0012-835X