Which CBC count findings suggest hematologic crisis 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

On the CBC, anemia is often identified; however, a major drop in hemoglobin (ie, more than 2 g/dL) from previously recorded values indicates a hematologic crisis. Leukocytosis is expected in all patients with sickle cell anemia, but a major elevation in the WBC count (ie, >20,000/mm3) with a left shift raises suspicion for infection. Leukopenia is suggestive of parvovirus infection. The platelet count is typically elevated. If it is low, consider hypersplenism.


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