Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children With Sickle Cell Disease Referred for an Evaluation

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Abstract

Neuropsychological deficits, including difficulties with attention, are well described in children with sickle cell disease (SCD). Very little is known about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children with SCD. The objective of this study was to determine the proportion of ADHD in children with SCD referred for neuropsychological evaluation. This prospective, cross-sectional study included patients (age, 4 to 18 y) with SCD and completion of a neuropsychological evaluation between December 2013 and March 2016. Patients were referred for neuropsychological evaluation because of concern regarding school performance, development, and/or behavior. The diagnosis of ADHD was made by a neuropsychologist on the basis of the diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual—Fourth or Fifth Editions. ADHD medication usage rate was obtained by medical record review. Of the 89 patients with SCD referred for neuropsychological evaluation, 25% (95% confidence interval, 16%-35%) met diagnostic criteria for ADHD. Only 21% of the patients with SCD and ADHD were prescribed an ADHD medication. Our study supports routine ADHD screening in children with SCD who have poor school performance or behavioral concerns. Despite the benefits of pharmacologic treatment, the majority of patients with SCD and ADHD did not receive a medication for management of their ADHD.

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