Background: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is highly prevalent in the Al-Hasa area of eastern Saudi Arabia. We analyzed our patient data to try and find an explanation for the unexpected observation that more males than females with SCD were transferred to the hospital after a stay in the stabilization unit.
Patients and methods: We compared differences between males and females in demographics, pattern of response to treatment for pain, and discharge records for SCD patients admitted to the stabilization unit during the years 2000 to 2002.
Results: Approximately 20% of patients were transferred to the hospital and the remainder were discharged home. Males were admitted more often to the stabilization unit for pain control. Males were also over-represented among those whose pain persisted for over 47 hours and needed hospitalization. Female patients were distributed more evenly over the age groups; there were fewer males in the older age groups.
Conclusion: These preliminary observations point to the need for further studies into gender differences in pain crisis in patients with SCD.