Sickle Cell Disease Highly Contributes to All-Cause Mortality

Global sickle cell disease mortality burden was 376,000 in 2021; 81,100 deaths reported in children younger than 5 years
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

THURSDAY, July 20, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Globally, sickle cell disease provides a high contribution to all-cause mortality, especially among children younger than 5 years, according to a study published online June 15 in The Lancet Haematology.

Azalea M. Thomson, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues estimated cause-specific sickle cell disease mortality using standardized Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) approaches and estimated a more accurate account of sickle cell disease health burden using four types of epidemiological data across 204 countries and territories from 2000 to 2021.

The researchers found that the national incidence rates of sickle cell disease were relatively stable between 2000 and 2021, but there was a 13.7 percent global increase in total births of babies with sickle cell disease to 515,000, mainly due to population growth in the Caribbean and Western and Central sub-Saharan Africa. A 41.4 percent increase was seen in the number of people living with sickle cell disease globally, from 5.46 million in 2000 to 7.74 million in 2021. In 2021, 34,400 cause-specific all-age deaths were estimated globally, while the total sickle cell disease mortality burden was 376,000. There were 81,100 deaths in children younger than 5 years, ranking total sickle cell disease mortality as 12th across all causes estimated by the GBD in 2021 compared with 40th for cause-specific sickle cell disease mortality.

"In the U.S., newborn screening is universal, but a national registry does not yet exist," a coauthor said in a statement. "Increased global awareness and adoption of health policies that expand neonatal screening and make treatment more accessible will go a long way in improving health outcomes."

Several of the international group of GBD 2021 Sickle Cell Disease Collaborators disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text

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