Does raising hemoglobin concentration prior to surgery protect patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) from complications?

Updated: May 12, 2021
  • Author: Joseph E Maakaron, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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In general, raising the hemoglobin concentration to between 10 g/dL and 12 g/dL provides the patient with approximately 20-30% hemoglobin A. The presence of this fraction of normal hemoglobin may provide some protection from complications. Many anesthesiologists require a hemoglobin concentration of more than 10 g/dL prior to the procedure. [76]

When the patient’ baseline hemoglobin level is above 10 g/dL, the approach is less certain. If the complexity of the surgical procedure or the duration and risk of anesthesia is considerable, exchange transfusion or erythrocytapheresis can reduce the hemoglobin S concentration to 30%, while keeping the total hemoglobin level below 12 g/dL.

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