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Objective: To compare the cardiovascular features of patients with sickle cell anaemia (SCA) in steady-state with those in vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC) at the Wesley Guild Hospital (WGH).
Design: A descriptive cross-sectional, matched, case-control study among children with SCA at the WGH, a tertiary health facility in southwest Nigeria.
Setting: The participants were recruited from the children’s emergency unit and paediatric haematology clinic of the WGH.
Participants: Consisted of 93 children with VOC (cases) and 93 age and sex-matched in steady state (controls), aged 5 – 15 years.
Main outcome measures: Cardiovascular parameters, including pulse rate, blood pressure, and electrocardiographic profile, were assessed and compared using the appropriate statistical tests.
Results: The mean (SD) age of the cases and controls were 8.8 (3.2) years and 9.0 (3.1) years, respectively (p= 0.106). There was no significant difference in the mean height of the groups. The mean pulse rate, diastolic, systolic, and mean arterial pressures were significantly higher in the cases than in the controls. A significantly higher proportion of the cases than the controls also had a higher frequency of heart blocks, prolonged QTc interval, ST elevation or depression, and T wave abnormality (p = 0.018, 0.039, 0.041, 0.009, respectively). The prevalence of chamber enlargements was not significantly different between the two groups.
Conclusion: Cardiovascular dysfunction is worse during VOC when compared with steady state. Physicians should look for these dysfunctions in SCA children with VOC to reduce mortality from the disease.