Echocardiographic findings in patients with sickle cell disease

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Pulmonary hypertension is a complication of sickle cell disease that is associated with increased mortality. Whether this complication is associated with hemolysis has been questioned. Systolic pulmonary artery blood pressure can be estimated from echocardiography-determined tricuspid regurgitation velocity (TRV). A velocity of 2.5 m/s or higher suggests possible pulmonary hypertension. A retrospective review of hospital records from adult patients with sickle cell disease undergoing echocardiography in 2006 and 2007 was performed at a tertiary level hospital. Echocardiographic, demographic, and clinical laboratory data were collected. Echocardiographic results were available for 105 adult sickle cell patients. Of these, 62 (59%) had a TRV ≥2.5 m/s and 24 (22.8%) had a TRV ≥3.0 m/s. Mitral valve regurgitation was observed in 44% and left ventricular abnormalities (defined by either hypertrophy or dilation) in 28% of cases. Elevated TRV had independent and significant associations with greater age, higher serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) concentration, and lower hemoglobin concentration. We confirmed that elevated TRV is common among hospital-based adults with sickle cell disease. Significant, independent associations were found with both elevated LDH concentration and degree of anemia, suggesting that hemolytic and other mechanisms contribute to pulmonary hypertension in patients with sickle cell disease. © 2009 Springer-Verlag.

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