What is the presentation of acute chest syndrome in patients with 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

In acute chest syndrome, arterial blood oxygen saturation commonly falls to a greater degree than that seen in simple pneumonia of the same magnitude. Patients with acute chest syndrome often have progressive pulmonary infiltrates despite treatment with antibiotics. Infection may set off a wave of local ischemia that produces focal sickling, deoxygenation, and additional sickling.

The 2003 BCSH guidelines strongly advocate the use of incentive spirometry for patients with chest or back pain. [46]


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