BACKGROUND: Stroke is a potentially fatal complication of sickle cell disease in children between 2-16 years and transcranial Döppler has been recommended as a screening method in these cases. OBJECTIVE: The main goal of this study was to correlate transcranial Döppler results to complications related to stroke in sickle cell disease and baseline characteristics of the population. METHODS: This was an observational study of children and adolescents with ages between 2-16 years with sickle cell disease who were followed in three centers. RESULTS: From January 2008 to July 2009, 902 patients were enrolled in this study. The median age was 6.5 years (range: 1.8-15.8), 52.3% were male, 74.4% had hemoglobin SS; 221 (28.6%) had at least one complication associated with sickle cell disease. A total of 773 patients performed transcranial Döppler; in 91.2% this was a method of screening. Conditional or abnormal transcranial Döppler results were more common in patients with sickle cell disease complications versus those without complications (ODDS ratio = 3.18; 95% Confidence interval = 1.92-5.27). There was a significant difference in the frequency of conditional or abnormal transcranial Döppler results in patients with abnormal laboratory results compared to those without abnormalities (OR=4.03); 95% confidence interval = 2.30-7.06. CONCLUSIONS: Conditional or abnormal transcranial Döppler results were significantly more frequent in patients with complications of sickle cell disease confirming the increased risk of stroke in this subgroup of patients. This observation reinforces the recommendation of transcranial Döppler as a screening test for all patients with sickle cell disease with ages between 2 and 16 years
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