What is the standard care for stroke prevention in children 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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Transfusion therapy, aimed at keeping the proportion of HbS below 30%, is now considered standard care for primary and secondary stroke prevention in children with SCD. The Stroke Prevention Trial in Sickle Cell Anemia (STOP) showed that regular blood transfusions produced a marked (90%) reduction in first stroke in asymptomatic high-risk children who had 2 abnormal transcranial Doppler (TCD) studies with velocities of 200 cm/s or greater. [96] According to the 2014 AHA/ASA primary stroke prevention guidelines, this form of therapy has been proven effective for reducing stroke risk in those children at increased risk for stroke. [45]

During the transfusion period, most of the TCD studies reverted to or toward normal. Once the transfusion program was stopped, however, there was an unacceptably high rate of TCD reversion to high risk, as well as to actual strokes. [52]

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