American Heart Association: New Insights Into Sickle Cell & Stroke Risk for Blacks

Sickle cell disease increases the risk of stroke for blacks – but recent research shows carrying the genetic trait for sickle cell doesn’t. It’s a new layer on the study and treatment of these inherited conditions affecting red blood cells, and experts say it should prompt doctors to dig deeper.

Past studies have suggested there may be a link between stroke and the two conditions. Others have shown none. Some research also has associated the sickle cell trait with chronic kidney disease, and lung and deep vein blood clots, all of which are potential risk factors for stroke.

But Dr. Hyacinth I. Hyacinth, who led the recent study that found no link between the trait and stroke among African Americans, said the bottom line is medical professionals may need to spend more time and effort treating stroke victims who have sickle cell trait.

The research “tells neurologists that in the scenario where a patient with sickle cell trait presents with stroke and no apparent traditional risk factor, a more thorough workup should be done instead of just