Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sickle Cell And Acute Chest Syndrome

Acute Chest Syndrome (ACS) is a complication of sickle cell disease. It is common and seen in people with sickle cell who were hospitalized for another reason. ACS is a form of sickle cell crisis. The crisis is often initiated by a lung infection.

ACS occurs when the circulation of blood vessels is blocked by sickled red blood cells, causing a restricted blood supply to lung tissues, which causes a shortage of oxygen and glucose. This could result in dysfunction of lung tissue.

Since oxygen is carried to tissues in the blood, AND is needed to keep all body tissues alive, insufficient oxygenated blood supply causes ALL tissues to become starved of oxygen. The result could be damage to other parts of the body.

The most common (initial) complaint is chest pain, and associated with symptoms like fever, cough, mucus, or shortness of breath.

Treatment includes antibiotics to help common infection like strep and pneumonia (fluid in lungs), pain control, and blood transfusion.

Recurrent episodes may cause irreversible lung damage or overall death of tissues in the body due to lack of oxygen. Acute Chest Syndrome may result in death, and is one of the most common causes of death for sickle cell patients.

When WE get sick with cold, flu or infection, it could also mean there is more going on in OUR bodies. If you have symptoms of flu, fever, cough with mucus and/or shortness of breath please seek medical attention.

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