NR 283 Final Pathological Processes

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Sickle Cell Anemia is a genetic condition commonly observed in individuals of Sub-Saharan African descent. It is characterized by inheriting mutated hemoglobin genes from both parents, leading to abnormal red blood cell shape. This article explores the causes, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, complications, and diagnostic methods associated with Sickle Cell Anemia.


Approximately 60% of Sickle Cell Anemia cases occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, with over 200,000 reported annually. The condition is prevalent among individuals born with major hemoglobin disorders, accounting for approximately 300,000 affected infants (Munube et al., 2016).

NR 283 Final Pathological Processes


In Sickle Cell Anemia, flexible and round red blood cells usually transform into rigid, sticky cells with a sickle or crescent moon shape. These irregularly shaped cells can block or impede blood and oxygen flow in blood vessels, leading to tissue ischemia, acute pain episodes, and organ damage.

Clinical Presentation:

The severity of clinical manifestations in Sickle Cell Anemia varies and includes the following:

Pain Crisis: Patients frequently experience intense episodes called vaso-occlusive or pain crises. These crises can affect body parts such as bones, abdomen, chest, and joints.

Anemia: Abnormal red blood cell shape reduces lifespan, resulting in chronic anemia. This can lead to fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.

Organ Damage: Prolonged vaso-occlusion can cause damage to multiple organs, including the spleen, kidneys, liver, lungs, and brain. This can manifest as organ dysfunction and increased susceptibility to infections.

NR 283 Final Pathological Processes


Sickle Cell Anemia can give rise to several complications, including:

Stroke: Abnormal blood flow and increased clotting risk can lead to cerebral infarctions and stroke.

Acute Chest Syndrome: Vaso-occlusion in the pulmonary vasculature can cause acute chest syndrome, characterized by chest pain, fever, and respiratory distress.

Infections: The compromised immune function due to splenic dysfunction increases the risk of severe infections, particularly by encapsulated bacteria.


The diagnosis of Sickle Cell Anemia involves various laboratory and clinical assessments, including:

Hemoglobin Electrophoresis: This test identifies the presence of abnormal hemoglobin, such as Hemoglobin S, characteristic of Sickle Cell Anemia.

Complete Blood Count (CBC): The CBC assesses red blood cell, white blood cell, and platelet levels, providing insights into anemia and potential complications.

Peripheral Blood Smear: Microscopic examination of a peripheral blood smear reveals the presence of sickle-shaped red blood cells.

NR 283 Final Pathological Processes


Sickle Cell Anemia is a genetic disorder characterized by abnormal red blood cell shape, leading to vaso-occlusion, chronic anemia, and organ damage. Understanding the causes, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, complications, and diagnostic methods associated with Sickle Cell Anemia is crucial for effective management and treatment. Continued research and advancements in therapeutic interventions are needed to improve the quality of life for individuals affected by Sickle Cell Anemia.


Munube, D., Katabira, E., Ndeezi, G., Joloba, M., Lhatoo, S., Sajatovic, M., & Tumwine, J. K. (2016). Prevalence of stroke in children admitted with sickle cell anemia to Mulago Hospital. BMC Neurology, 161-6. doi:10.1186/s