Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the effect of hydroxyurea on adverse clinical events and haematological indices in paediatric patients with sickle cell anaemia.
Method: This study compared the same cohort of patients before and after hydroxyurea therapy, monitoring the rate of adverse events, pre- and post-treatment and haematological indices.
Results: Of the 40 patients, the incidence rate of painful crises post-treatment was 80% lower than pre-treatment. Post-treatment incidence rates of painful crises managed at home, requiring emergency department care or requiring admission to the ward were also lower - 79%, 81% and 84%, respectively. There was no significant difference in the incidence of other clinical events. The haemoglobin concentration increased within the first month and plateaued while the mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC) continued to increase until six months before plateauing out. The white blood cell count (WBC) and absolute neutrophil count (ANC) decreased over the first month before levels stabilized. The reticulocyte percentage and the absolute reticulocyte count (ARC) decreased over the first three months before plateauing while the platelet count remained stable.
Conclusion: Hydroxyurea significantly reduced the incidence of painful crises. There were significant increases in haemoglobin, MCV and MCHC with decreases in WBC, ANC, ARC, and reticulocyte percentage while the platelet count remained relatively stable.