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Sickle Cell Anemia Under Microscope

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The vaso-occlusive crisis is caused by sickle-shaped red blood cells that obstruct capillaries and restrict blood flow to an organ resulting in ischaemia, pain, necrosis, and often organ damage. The frequency, severity, and duration of these crises vary considerably. Painful crises are treated with hydration, analgesics, and blood transfusion; pain management requires opioid administration at regular intervals until the crisis has settled. For milder crises, a subgroup of patients manage on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as diclofenac or naproxen. For more severe crises, most patients require inpatient management for intravenous opioids; patient-controlled analgesia devices are commonly used in this setting. Vaso-occlusive crisis involving organs such as the penis or lungs are considered an emergency and treated with red-blood cell transfusions. Incentive spirometry, a technique to encourage deep breathing to minimise the development of atelectasis, is recommended.

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