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Sickle Cell Disease May Be Associated With Increases in Severe Maternal Morbidity Amongst Black Patients


Sickle cell disease may be linked with an increase in Severe Maternal Morbidity amongst Black Patients, according to a new study.

Released in the scientific journal JAMA Pediatrics, the study was conducted by a large cohort from institutions such as the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania, amongst others. Titled “Association of Sickle Cell Disease With Racial Disparities and Severe Maternal Morbidities in Black Individuals,” the researchers examined the information of 8,693,616 patients from five states- Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Missouri.

In their research, the authors found that sickle cell disease was linked with nearly 9% of Severe Maternal Morbidity cases in both Black and white patients. When excluding transfusion, it was associated with approximately 14.3% of the disparities. 

Of all racial and ethnic groups, Black patients showed a stronger link between sickle cell disease and Severe Maternal Morbidity. 

Composing 11% of the patient information of the study, approximately 0.37% or 3,586 Black patients had sickle cell disease. For patients that had both Severe Maternal Morbidity and non-transfusion Severe Maternal Morbidity, Black patients also recorded the highest rates, making up approximately 2.52% and 1.12% of both categories, respectively. 

Maternal morbidity was found to be higher in general amongst patients with sickle cell disease, recording a rate of 14 per every 10,000 deliveries as compared to one per every 100,000 in patients without sickle cell disease.

“In this retrospective cohort study, SCD was found to be an important contributor to racial disparities in SMM and was associated with an elevated risk of SMM among Black individuals,” said the researchers in their conclusion in their study. “Efforts from the research community, policy makers, and funding agencies are needed to advance care among individuals with SCD.”

Overall, sickle cell disease is a health issue that affects Black Americans at rates higher than anyone else. 

According to information by the Centers for Disease Control, 100,000 Americans are diagnosed with sickle cell disease on average. Out of these 100,000 cases, one out of every 365 Black American infants are diagnosed with sickle cell disease. 

In comparison, one in 13 Black American babies are born carrying the sickle cell trait. Overall, sickle cell trait, a condition where an individual receives one sickle cell gene mutation from a parent, affects eight to 10% of Black Americans, according to the American Society of Hematology

While sickle cell trait cannot cause sickle cell disease, the condition can eventually be passed down the family line. 

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