The prevalence and factors associated with musculoskeletal disorders, in patients with sickle cell anaemia, at Mulago National Referral Hospital, Uganda

  • Inyas L. Akaro
  • G Madewo
  • N Orwotho
  • J Nankund
  • R Byanyima
  • PTK Samoyo
Keywords: Sickle cell anaemia, Musculoskeletal disorders, Avascular necrosis


Background: Sickle cell anaemia (SCA) is a condition characterized by a predominance of haemoglobin S (hbss) in the red blood cells. Musculoskeletal involvement is one of the commonest clinical manifestations of SCA. There is limited information on the prevalence, patterns and factors associated with Musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders among SCA patients in African countries.

Methods: This was a descriptive cross sectional study conducted in SCA clinic at Mulago National Referral Hospital, Uganda. It involved 365 SCA patients who attended the clinic between 1st August 2014 and 31st October 2014. These patients were interviewed and assessed to determine the presence of MSK, patterns and factors associated with it. The transient MSK disorders like dactylitis were excluded.

Results: The prevalence of MSK disorders among SCA patients was found to be 11.5%.These disorders include avascular necrosis, spine osteonecrosis, osteomyelitis, leg ulcers, pathological fractures and flexion contractures. The age (11-20 years), highly demanding physical activity status and the annual frequency of painful crises were associated with MSK disorders.

Conclusion: Musculoskeletal disorders are highly prevalent in SCA patients at Mulago National referral hospital. The femoral Avascular necrosis, spine osteonecrosis, leg ulcers and osteomyelitis were the most common MSK disorders.

Keywords: Sickle cell anaemia, Musculoskeletal disorders, Avascular necrosis


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eISSN: 2073-9990