Annals of African Medicine
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 165-170

Acute abdominal conditions in people with sickle cell disease: A 10-year experience in Port Harcourt, Nigeria


Department of Surgery, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, P M B 6173, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
N J Jebbin
Department of Surgery, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, P. M. B 6173, Port Harcourt
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1596-3519.82072

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Background: Abdominal crises (vaso-occlusive) are not infrequent in patients with sickle cell anemia. They usually present as acute abdomen. These patients none the less present with other causes of acute abdomen like others without hemoglobinopathy. Six cases of surgical acute abdomen in sickle cell disease patients treated in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) are presented. Materials and Methods: Six sickle cell anaemia patients presenting with acute abdominal conditions from 1999 to 2008 (inclusive) in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital were studied retrospectively (two patients) and prospectively (four patients). After initial resuscitation, appropriate surgical procedures, namely, appendicectomy (2), cholecystectomy (1), open drainage of splenic abscess (1), and release of adhesive band (1) were performed. Results: Six cases were treated (female/male ratio 2:1). Four patients were in the 11-20 year age group. Two patients had appendicectomy and two presented with acute cholecystitis/cholelithiasis, one of whom had open cholecystectomy. One young girl had drainage of splenic abscess and a 42-year-old male had division of obstructive adhesive band at laparotomy. There were two complications, namely, postoperative haemorrhage (in cholecystectomy patient) and acute chest syndrome (in one appendicectomy patient). These were successfully managed with blood transfusion and antibiotic/oxygen therapy, respectively. There was no mortality. Conclusion: Sickle cell anaemia patients are not exempt from acute abdominal conditions requiring surgery. A high index of suspicion coupled with repeated clinical examination is needed for early diagnosis and appropriate treatment.


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