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Patients with sickle cell anemia may face cardiovascular complications that can lead to increased mortality. Identifying risk factors early could help address these complications. 

Sickle cell anemia is a common inherited blood disorder characterized by abnormal hemoglobin. Although treatment advances have reduced the overall morbidity and mortality of affected patients, mortality rates are still high due to cardiovascular complications. The main cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with sickle cell disease is cardiovascular disease, which accounts for roughly 75% of deaths. 

Researchers sought to compare the prevalence of complications from cardiovascular disease between patients with sickle cell anemia and patients with other hemoglobinopathies. Through a systematic literature review, they assessed the occurrence of cardiovascular complications in study subjects. 

Four studies were included in the literature review, with a total of more than 500 participants; 289 participants had sickle cell anemia, 133 had sickle cell hemoglobinopathy, 40 had beta-thalassemia, and 100 participants were healthy. The quality of the studies included were evaluated through the Newcastle–Ottawa scale.

Results showed that cardiovascular complications, including diastolic dysfunction, mitral regurgitation, pulmonary hypertension, dilation of cardiac chambers, and left and right ventricular hypertrophy, are more prevalent in patients with sickle cell anemia than in patients with other hemoglobinopathies. However, myocardial iron overload is more common in thalassemia major than in sickle cell anemia. 

Due to the increased prevalence of cardiovascular complications in patients with sickle cell anemia, healthcare providers should seek to identify these complications early. Cardiovascular complications are the main cause of death in patients with sickle cell anemia. Therefore, prevention of cardiovascular complications can help alter the course of the disease in a favorable way. 


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Lopes, A., Dantas, M. T., & Ladeia, A. M. T. (2022). Prevalence of Cardiovascular Complications in Individuals with Sickle Cell Anemia and Other Hemoglobinopathies: A Systematic Review. Arq Bras Cardiol. https://doi.org/10.36660/abc.20220207 (Prevalência das Complicações Cardiovasculares nos Indivíduos com Anemia Falciforme e Outras Hemoglobinopatias: Uma Revisão Sistemática.)