Oxygen therapy in sickle cell disease

Alvin Zipursky, Isabelle C. Robieux, Elizabeth J. Brown, Dian Shaw, Hugh O'Brodovich, James D. Kellner, Max J. Coppes, Gideon Koren, Nancy F. Olivieri

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37 Scopus citations


The effect of oxygen therapy on the number of irreversibly (ISC) and reversibly (RSC) sickled cells was studied in patients with sickle cell anemia. Inhalation of 50% oxygen in patients who were not in crisis produced a significant fall in RSCs and a lesser fall in ISCs. Twenty-five subjects in sickle cell crisis were chosen at random to receive either oxygen (15 patients) or air (10 patients). Those who received oxygen showed a significant reduction in RSCs, but not in ISCs. No significant change in RSCs or ISCs occurred in the group who received air. Despite the reduction in RSCs in the oxygen-treated group, there was no significant difference between the air and oxygen groups in the duration of severe pain, opioid administration, and hospitalization. It was also observed that crisis was associated with arterial desaturation and a reduction in the number of RSCs. We conclude that, although RSCs may be involved in the pathophysiology of sickle cell crisis, reduction in RSCs by oxygen therapy in these studies did not result in any reduction in the duration of crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-228
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1992


  • Oxygen
  • Room air


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