Are routine CBC counts and reticulocyte counts necessary in all patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) who have an acute illness?

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

There is a near ubiquitous recommendation to obtain "routine" CBC and reticulocyte counts in all sickle cell patients with an acute illness, including those presenting with apparently uncomplicated painful crisis. However, a meta-analysis found that "the routine use of complete blood count and reticulocyte count in sickle cell patients presenting with painful crisis does not alter management decisions. Selective use of these tests can be based on patient age, reported symptoms, vital signs, physical examination, and clinical judgment." [48]


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