Hemoglobin. 2020 Jul 28:1-6. doi: 10.1080/03630269.2020.1797775. Online ahead of print.
The city of Detroit has a large population of individuals with sickle cell disease, and hospitals in Detroit have seen some of the highest numbers of cases of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) in 2020. The purpose of this study was to examine the pathophysiological characteristics of COVID-19 in patients with sickle cell disease or trait to determine whether these patients have unique manifestations that might require special consideration. This retrospective analysis included 24 patients with confirmed COVID-19 and sickle cell disease or trait who were seen at the Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI, USA, between March 1 and April 15 2020. Of the 24 patients, 18 (75.0%) had heterozygous sickle cell trait, one (4.0%) was a double heterozygote for Hb S (HBB: c.20A>T)/β+-thalassemia (β+-thal), four had sickle cell anemia (βS/βS) and one (4.0%) had Hb S/Hb C (HBB: c.19G>A) disease. A total of 13 (54.0%) patients required hospitalization. All four patients with sickle cell anemia, developed acute pain crisis. We observed one patient who developed acute pulmonary embolism and no patients developed other sickle cell associated complications. Additionally, three (13.0%) patients required packed red blood cell transfusion without the need of exchange transfusion, and one patient required admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), mechanical ventilation and subsequently died. Patients with sickle cell disease or trait and laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 had a generally mild, or unremarkable, course of disease, with lower chances of intubation, ICU admission and death, but with a slightly longer hospitalization.