Which factors increase the risk of vaso-occlusive crises in sickle cell disease (SCD)?

Updated: May 12, 2021
  • Author: Joseph E Maakaron, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Vaso-occlusive crises are often precipitated by the following:

  • Cold weather (due to vasospasm)
  • Hypoxia (eg, flying in unpressurized aircraft)
  • Infection
  • Dehydration (especially from exertion or during warm weather)
  • Acidosis
  • Alcohol intoxication
  • Emotional stress
  • Pregnancy

Data also suggest a role for exertional stress, particularly when compounded with heat and hypovolemia.


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