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The prevalence of abnormal leukocyte count, and its predisposing factors, in patients with sickle cell disease in Saudi Arabia

Authors Ahmed AE, Ali YZ, Al-Suliman AM, Albagshi JM, Al Salamah M, Elsayid M, Alanazi WR, Ahmed RA, McClish DK, AL-Jahdali H

Received 6 August 2017

Accepted for publication 19 September 2017

Published 25 October 2017 Volume 2017:8 Pages 185—191


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Martin Bluth

Anwar E Ahmed,1 Yosra Z Ali,2 Ahmad M Al-Suliman,3 Jafar M Albagshi,3 Majid Al Salamah,1 Mohieldin Elsayid,1 Wala R Alanazi,4 Rayan A Ahmed,5 Donna K McClish,6 Hamdan AL-Jahdali,1,2

1College of Public Health and Health Informatics, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 2King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 3King Fahad Hospital, Hofuf, Saudi Arabia; 4Al-Maarefa College for Science and Technology, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 5Dar Al Uloom University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 6Department of Biostatistics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA

Introduction: High white blood cell (WBC) count is an indicator of sickle cell disease (SCD) severity, however, there are limited studies on WBC counts in Saudi Arabian patients with SCD. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of abnormal leukocyte count (either low or high) and identify factors associated with high WBC counts in a sample of Saudi patients with SCD.
Methods: A cross-sectional and retrospective chart review study was carried out on 290 SCD patients who were routinely treated at King Fahad Hospital in Hofuf, Saudi Arabia. An interview was conducted to assess clinical presentations, and we reviewed patient charts to collect data on blood test parameters for the previous 6 months.
Results: Almost half (131 [45.2%]) of the sample had abnormal leukocyte counts: low WBC counts 15 (5.2%) and high 116 (40%). High WBC counts were associated with shortness of breath (P=0.022), tiredness (P=0.039), swelling in hands/feet (P=0.020), and back pain (P=0.007). The mean hemoglobin was higher in patients with normal WBC counts (P=0.024), while the mean hemoglobin S was high in patients with high WBC counts (P=0.003). After adjustment for potential confounders, predictors of high WBC counts were male gender (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]=3.63) and patients with cough (aOR=2.18), low hemoglobin (aOR=0.76), and low heart rate (aOR=0.97).
Conclusion: Abnormal leukocyte count was common: approximately five in ten Saudi SCD patients assessed in this sample. Male gender, cough, low hemoglobin, and low heart rate were associated with high WBC count. Strategies targeting high WBC count could prevent disease complication and thus could be beneficial for SCD patients.

white blood cell, leukocyte, SCD, Saudi, hemoglobin, low heart rate, Saudi Arabia

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