Blood transfusions decrease the chance of stroke for SCD children

21 August 2014

A new study found that monthly blood transfusions can substantially reduce the risk of recurrent strokes in children with sickle cell disease (SCD) who have already suffered a silent stroke.

Investigators at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, Vanderbilt University, along with 27 other medical institutions, found that children with SCD were 58 per cent less likely to suffer a repeat silent stroke, as well as the more dangerous overt strokes, if they were given monthly blood transfusions.

The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, could be significant as silent strokes, which are so-called as they have no easily detectable symptoms, are the most common neurologic complication of SCD, affecting a third of all children with the inherited blood condition. 

The three-year study followed 196 children between five and 15 with SCD and who had all previously suffered silent strokes. It found that six of the 99 children who received regular blood transfusions suffered another stroke, compared to 14 of the 97 who did not get the treatment and had another incident. 

It also discovered that monthly blood transfusions decreased the chance of suffering other SCD-related problems, such as episodes of extreme pain.

Posted by Philip Briggs​


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