PMID: 2638677Nov 1, 1989Paper

Splenectomy in children with sickle cell disease and thalassemia

Indian Journal of Pediatrics
A H al-SalemB al Awami


A number of Saudi children (31) with sickle cell disease and thalassemia underwent splenectomy: 12 for frequent blood transfusions, 15 for chronic hypersplenism (most of whom were also the recipients of periodic blood transfusion) and 4 for splenic abscess. The mean age of splenectomy was 8.8 years (8 months-18 years). Eight patients had sickle cell disease, 14 beta-thalassemia and 9 had sickle cell thalassemia. All patients received prophylaxis against pneumococcal infection. There was one postoperative death most probably due to sepsis. Sixteen of those who required frequent preoperative blood transfusions needed no more transfusions, while in 7 the need for transfusions decreased significantly (p less than 0.05). For those with hypersplenism, there was a significant postoperative increase in total hemoglobin (P less than 0.001), RBC (P less than 0.001) and platelet counts (p less than 0.02); and a substantial decrease in reticulocyte counts (p less than 0.05). The common post splenectomy complications were chest infection and a brief episode of pyrexia, but without undue morbidity. The study establishes a definite place for splenectomy in a selected population of children with sickle cell disease and thalassemia.


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