Subarachnoid hemorrhage in sickle-cell disease

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  • 1 Departments of Neurosurgery and Hematology, University of Illinois Hospital, and Department of Neurosurgery, Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago, Illinois, and Neurosurgical Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
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✓ The neurological complications of sickle-cell disease include cerebral infarction and intracerebral hemorrhage; subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) has been infrequently reported. Among 325 patients with sickle-cell disease followed at the University of Illinois between 1975 and 1989, 11 cases of SAH were identified. Aneurysms were found in 10 of these patients, three of whom had multiple aneurysms. All of the patients had some degree of anemia and nine underwent craniotomy without hematological or neurological complications. From this review it appears that SAH is not uncommon in sickle-cell disease patients and tends to occur at a younger age and with smaller aneurysm size than in the general population. With proper perioperative management, including exchange transfusions to reduce the proportion of hemoglobin S to less than 30%, these patients can undergo angiography and craniotomy without an increased incidence of complications. The techniques used in managing sickle-cell disease patients with SAH are discussed.

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