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Haematological indices have been studied in 181 patients with homozygous sickle cell (SS) disease aged 40-73 years. Cross-sectional analyses in 5-year age bands indicated age-related decreases in HbF (males only), total haemoglobin and platelet counts. Longitudinal studies within individuals confirmed the downward age-related trend in haemoglobin and platelets and also revealed a falling reticulocyte count, most significant when expressed as absolute values. Total nucleated cells also fell although the decline was significant only in females. These observations are consistent with a progressive bone marrow failure which is not explained by the commonly occurring renal impairment in older SS patients since the changes persisted in analyses confined to patients with normal creatinine levels. The mechanism of this bone marrow failure is currently unknown.

Original publication




Journal article


British journal of haematology

Publication Date





382 - 385


Medical Research Council Laboratories, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica.


Humans, Anemia, Sickle Cell, Thalassemia, Hemoglobins, Fetal Hemoglobin, Platelet Count, Longitudinal Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Sex Factors, Aging, Adult, Aged, Middle Aged, Female, Male