Clinical ‘pearls’ of maternal critical care Part 2: sickle-cell disease in pregnancy

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Purpose of review

The current review outlines the challenges in managing pregnant women with sickle-cell anemia, who are at risk of becoming critically ill during pregnancy.

Recent findings

Sickle obstetric patients pose unique challenges to the anesthetist and intensivist. We discuss the role of prophylactic transfusions for specific indications like acute anemia and twin pregnancies. The management and prevention of vaso-occlusive crises and chest crisis are also outlined. The role of the multidisciplinary team cannot be overstated.

Recent findings

Massive obstetric hemorrhage in this population is difficult, and unique considerations such as cell-saver technology and tranexamic acid usage are discussed. Secondary complications such as pulmonary hypertension and stroke are also considered, with a summary of the latest treatment guidelines.


This is a challenging cohort of pregnant patients who have a significantly increased morbidity and mortality. This review aims to aid management of these patients on the labor ward for both obstetric anesthetists and intensivists.

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