Folate levels in children with sickle cell anaemia on folic acid supplementation in steady state and crises at a tertiary hospital in Enugu, Nigeria: a prospective, comparative study

  • Uchenna C Nnajekwu Department of Paediatrics, University Of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria
  • Chukwubike O Nnajekwu Department of Paediatrics, University Of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria
  • Vivian O Onukwuli Department of Paediatrics, College Of Medicine, University Of Nigeria, Enugu Campus
  • Bartholomew F Chukwu Department of Paediatrics, College Of Medicine, University Of Nigeria, Enugu Campus
  • Anthony N Ikefuna Department of Paediatrics, College Of Medicine, University Of Nigeria, Enugu Campus
  • Ifeoma J Emodi Department of Paediatrics, College Of Medicine, University Of Nigeria, Enugu Campus
Keywords: Red cell folate, sickle cell anaemia, steady state, crises

Abstract

Introduction
Folic acid supplementation is an integral aspect of the management of children with sickle cell anaemia (SCA) especially in Africa. In spite of this, there have been concerns about lower folate levels, especially during crisis.
Aim
To determine red cell folate levels of children with sickle cell anaemia in steady state and during crisis and compare with those with haemoglobin AA genotype.
Method
This study was prospective, hospital based, and comparative. Fifty children with sickle cell anaemia were recruited during crises and followed up until they met the criteria for attaining steady state. The controls were fifty children matched with those with SCA for age and gender and had haemoglobin AA genotype. Red cell folate estimation was done with the Electrochemiluminescence Immunoassay (ECLIA) method using the automated Roche Cobas e411 equipment.
Results
The median (IQR) red cell folate level in children during sickle cell crisis was 265.95 (134.50) ng/ml, which was significantly lower than the median (IQR) of 376.30 (206.85) ng/ml obtained during steady state. Most children with SCA (41 out of 50) had significantly higher folate levels during steady state (T=1081, Z-score= -4.660, p < 0.001). Median level of red cell folate was lower during anaemic crisis compared to vaso-occlusive crisis, though not significantly so (N(50), U = 214.00, Z-score= -1.077, p = 0.305). The median red cell folate level of normal controls was 343.55 (92.90) ng/ml, which was significantly lower than the 376.30 (206.85) ng/ml obtained during steady state (N(50), U= 209.00, Z-score= -7.177, p <0.001).
Conclusion
Median red cell folate levels of the study participants were within normal limits, though most children with SCA had significantly higher levels during steady state compared to crisis. Normal controls had significantly lower red cell folate levels than the children with SCA during steady state.

Published
2022-07-01
Section
Original Research

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1995-7262
print ISSN: 1995-7262