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Sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia: a review

Shahid Muhammad, a Chartered Scientist and academic at Coventry University, looks at the issues in relation to transfusion medicine.

Haemoglobinopathies, especially sickle cell anaemia (SCA) and thalassaemia, are genetic conditions that, in severe forms, are affiliated with chronic life-threatening diseases with inherent haematological pathophysiology that can affect wellbeing and lead to death. SCA is estimated to affect one in every 2000 live births in England and there are currently up to 15,000 people with SCA in England, making it one of the most common genetic conditions. In the US, SCA is most prevalent among African Americans, and occurs in about one in every 365 African-American births, compared with one in every 16,300 Hispanic births, and one in every 100,000 non-Hispanic White births. Under certain conditions, individuals with SCA may require a blood transfusion or a series of transfusions. These may be episodic or for treatment of acute, potentially life-threatening disease complications. For some individuals, regularly scheduled, often life-long, chronic transfusions have been the primary treatment for disease.

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Image Credit | Science-Photolibrary

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