Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice

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Evaluation of sociodemographic, clinical, and laboratory markers of sickle leg ulcers among young Nigerians at a tertiary health institution

O.S. Olatunya, D.M. Albuquerque, A.D. Adekile, F.F. Costa


Background: Sickle leg ulcer (SLU) is a chronic and debilitating complication of sickle cell disease (SCD) associated with huge physical and psychosocial discomfort. The occurrence of SLU has remained steady despite successful preventive strategies and advances in SCD care. Although multifactorial factors have been implicated in SLU, these are not fully understood, and data on how these relate to young Nigerian SCD patients are scanty.

Aims: This study aims to evaluate the sociodemographic, clinical, and laboratory markers of SLU in a young Nigerian SCD cohort.

Patients and Methods: This study involved 109 young SCD patients and 67 healthy peers. The sociodemographic and laboratory parameters of the participants were examined in addition to the evaluation of the SCD cohort for SLU.

Results: Only the HbSS patients had SLU. This was found in six of them giving a prevalence of 5.9% (6/101). Their median age was 17, range 14–21 years. There was a preceding history of trauma in 4 (66.7%), and this included a case of traditional scarifications for local therapeutic purposes. Two of the three (66.7%) males with SLU also had priapism (P = 0.0132). Patients with SLU were older, had less frequent bone pain crises, and significantly belonged to the low socioeconomic class (P < 0.05). Although patients with SLU had relatively higher lactate dehydrogenase, platelet count, aspartate transaminase, bilirubin, white blood cell, and lower Hb concentration and HbF, these did not attain statistical significance (P > 0.05).

Conclusion: This study confirms that SLU is common among young SCD patients with HbSS genotype, low socioeconomic background, and older age. It also suggests that SLU could be more related to hemolysis-associated SCD phenotypes among the patients.

Keywords: Children, laboratory and clinical parameters, Nigeria, sickle leg ulcer, sociodemographic status

AJOL African Journals Online