Chronic pulmonary disorders in sickle cell disease: findings at thin-section CT.

Aquino SL, Gamsu G, Fahy JV, Claster S, Embury SH, Mentzer WC, Vichinsky EP


To characterize the non-acute abnormalities seen at computed tomography (CT) in patients with sickle cell (SC) disease and a prior history of acute chest syndrome (ACS)-pneumonia.


Twenty-nine patients with SC disease who had experienced one to more than 10 (median, six) previous episodes of ACS-pneumonia were prospectively studied with thin-section CT of the thorax. Scans were graded for interstitial disease and assigned a disease index ranging from 0 to 3. Twenty-four patients underwent pulmonary function tests (PFTs) and measurement of their blood gasses.


Twelve of the 29 patients (41%) had significant interstitial disease that was multifocal. A correlation was found between the disease index and number of episodes of ACS-pneumonia (P = .02) but not between the disease index and PFT results.


Thin-section CT demonstrates significant multifocal interstitial lung abnormalities in 41% of selected patients with SC disease. The pattern is most consistent with scarring from episodes of infarction or infection.

Journal Issue
Volume 193 of Issue 3