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Diverse manifestations of a sickle cell crisis


We describe the case of a 21-year-old man with a background of sickle cell disease (SCD) who was on acute presentation in a sickle cell crisis required immediate intensive care admission with red blood cell exchange and ventilatory support. He had right frontal lobe infarcts and extensive bilateral deep white matter lesions most likely secondary to fat embolism. Inpatient investigations demonstrated a patent foramen ovale, explaining the route of spread of the fat embolus. He then had a transcatheter closure of the atrial defect. The patient needed prolonged inpatient rehabilitation. He was discharged from hospital in a wheelchair secondary to severe lower limb neurology and bilateral knee heterotopic ossification. He lives with the possibility of early onset dementia and cognitive decline, requiring constant care. The case highlights the multiple manifestations of SCD and their diverse and debilitating consequences.

  • musculoskeletal and joint disorders
  • haematology (incl blood transfusion)
  • stroke
  • sickle cell disease
  • disability

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