e, transfusion strategy is applied to prevent the recurrence, or the first occurrence, of stroke which is a major crisis in SCD, and to manage pulmonary hypertension and other sources of morbidity and mortality. Exchange transfusions are used to reduce the sickle cell haemoglobin (HbS) levels during crisis. Several situations also exist wherein the indication for red cell transfusion is controversial, uncertain, or downright injudicious. Many side effects of transfusion have been identified and methods to overcome them have been developed. Iron overload (remedy: iron chelation), and alloimmunisation (remedy: phenotypical matching of transfused blood) are two notable examples. Association of haemoglobinopathies and neurologic sequelae after transfusion is also known. At the present time, bone marrow transplant is the only curative procedure available for both SCD and β-thalassaemia major. Potential therapies involving stem cell transplantation and gene techniques are being vigorously researched.
A detailed discussion of the current status of clinical management strategies as applied to inherited haemoglobin-related diseases in particular, sickle cell disease and the thalassaemias, is presented in this paper.
Anaemia is a syndrome characterised by a lack of healthy red blood cells or haemoglobin deficiency in the red blood cells, resulting in inadequate oxygen supply to the tissues. The condition can be temporary, long-term or chronic, and of mild to severe intensity. There are many forms and causes of anaemia. Normal blood consists of three types of blood cells: white blood cells (leucocytes), platelets and red blood cells (erythrocytes). The first generation of erythrocyte precursors in the developing foetus are produced in the yolk sac. They are carried to the developing liver by the blood where they form mature red blood cells that are required to meet the metabolic needs of the foetus. Until the 18th week of gestation, erythrocytes are produced only by liver