What are the typical baseline blood study abnormalities 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

Typical baseline abnormalities in the patient with SCD are as follows:

  • Hemoglobin level is 5-9 g/dL

  • Hematocrit is decreased to 17-29%

  • Total leukocyte count is elevated to 12,000-20,000 cells/mm3 (12-20 X 109/L), with a predominance of neutrophils

  • Platelet count is increased

  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate is low

  • The reticulocyte count is usually elevated, but it may vary depending on the extent of baseline hemolysis

  • Peripheral blood smears demonstrate target cells, elongated cells, and characteristic sickle erythrocytes

  • Presence of RBCs containing nuclear remnants (Howell-Jolly bodies) indicates that the patient is asplenic

  • Results of hemoglobin solubility testing are positive, but they do not distinguish between sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait


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