Red cell antibodies in patients with homozygous sickle cell disease: a comparison of patients in Jamaica and the United Kingdom.


The transfusion history and frequency of red cell antibodies in patients with homozygous sickle cell (SS) disease have been compared in 190 subjects from the Jamaican cohort study and 37 patients attending a sickle cell clinic in Manchester, England. The proportion of patients transfused did not differ between the groups although the number of units transfused and the frequency of red cell antibodies were significantly greater in the Manchester group. Immune antibodies occurred in three Jamaicans (2.6% of those transfused) and 16 UK subjects (76% of those transfused). Multiple antibodies occurred in 10 (63%) UK subjects but in no Jamaicans. Indications for transfusion also differed between the groups, Jamaican patients typically receiving 1-2 units for acute anaemia or acute chest syndrome, whereas UK patients frequently had multiple transfusions in preoperative exchange or prophylaxis programmes. The greater red cell alloimmunization among UK patients probably reflects both the greater use of transfusion and the disparity between donor and recipient populations in the UK.

British journal of haematology