Red cell deformability in oral contraceptive pill users with sickle cell anaemia

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Abstract

Summary

The use of the combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP) in women with sickle cell anaemia (SCA) is controversial, as contraceptive steroids are thought to adversely affect erythrocyte deformability. This observational study was performed to investigate whether hormonal contraception influenced erythrocyte deformability in women with SCA. 30 women with SCA using various contraceptive modalities: COCP (n = 10); progestogen only (PO) contraception (n = 10) and non-hormonal contraception (n = 10) were recruited. Erythrocyte deformability was assessed using the clogging rate (CR) and red cell transit time (RCTT). There was no statistical difference in the mean CR and RCTT between the three groups of women (one-way ANOVA). Current contraceptive steroids do not appear to impair red cell deformability in women with SCA.

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