Respiratory Symptoms and Acute Painful Episodes in Sickle Cell Disease CE

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The authors examined the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and determined whether respiratory symptoms were associated with prevalence of chest pain and number of acute painful episodes in children and adolescents with sickle cell disease. Participants (N = 93; 44 females, 49 males; mean age 9.8 ± 4.3 years) reported coughing in the morning (21.5%), at night (31.2%), and during exercise (30.1%). Wheezing occurred both when they had a cold or infection (29.0%) and when they did not have (23.7%) a cold or infection. Sleep was disturbed by wheezing in 20.4%. Among the 76 patients who were school-age (>5 years), 19.7% of patients missed more than 4 days of school because of respiratory symptoms. The majority of patients reported having acute painful episodes (82.8%), and most (66.7%) reported having chest pain during acute painful episodes in the previous 12 months. Participants with acute pain episodes greater than 3 during the previous 12 months had significantly higher reports of breathing difficulties (P = .01) and chest pain (P = .002). The high number of respiratory symptoms (cough and wheeze) among patients with sickle cell disease may trigger acute painful episodes. Early screening and recognition, ongoing monitoring, and proactive management of respiratory symptoms may minimize the number of acute painful episodes.

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