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BackgroundThere are a paucity of data on epistaxis as it pertains to sickle cell anaemia. Some case studies suggest epistaxis to be a significant complication in patients with sickle cell anaemia in sub-Saharan Africa; however, no robust studies have sought to establish the epidemiology or pathophysiology of this phenomenon.MethodsWe conducted a case-control study with the aim of investigating the importance of epistaxis among children presenting with sickle cell anaemia at the Mbale Regional Referral Hospital in eastern Uganda. Cases were children aged 2-15 years with an existing diagnosis of laboratory confirmed sickle cell anaemia, while controls were children without sickle cell anaemia who were frequency matched to cases on the basis of age group and gender. The frequency and severity of epistaxis was assessed using a structured questionnaire developed specifically for this study. Odds ratios controlled for age group and gender were calculated using unconditional logistic regression.ResultsA total of 150 children were included, 73 children with sickle cell anaemia and 77 children without sickle cell anaemia. The overall prevalence of epistaxis among children with sickle cell anaemia and children without sickle cell anaemia was 32.9 and 23.4% respectively. The case-control odds ratios for epistaxis, recurrent epistaxis and severe epistaxis were, 1.6 (95%CI 0.8-3.4; p = 0.2), 7.4 (1.6-34.5; 0.01), and 8.3 (1.0-69.8; 0.05) respectively.ConclusionsOur results suggest that in eastern Uganda, children with sickle cell anaemia experience epistaxis more frequently and with greater severity than children without sickle cell anaemia. Further studies are indicated to confirm this conclusion and investigate aetiology.

Original publication





BMC hematology

Publication Date





Department of Haematology, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Herlev Ringvej 75, opgang 1, etage 21, 2730 Herlev, Denmark.