Background: Transcranial Doppler (TCD) is used to select children with sickle cell disease (SCD) for primary stroke prevention using regular blood transfusion. Whether it can also identify high stroke risk in adults with SCD is not known.
Methods: The authors examined 112 adult patients from two convenience population samples with SCD and 53 healthy control subjects to compare velocities in adults to those reported in children with SCD and to evaluate the influence of age and hematocrit on TCD.
Results: Adults with SCD had a higher mean time-averaged maximum mean velocity (110.9 +/- 25.7 cm/s) compared with healthy controls (71.1 +/- 12.0 cm/s), and the difference is approximately proportional to their anemia. No cases with velocities >/=200 cm/s (the threshold used in children for prophylactic treatment) were found in this sample.
Conclusions: Transcranial Doppler velocities in adults with sickle cell disease (SCD) are lower than those in children with SCD. Velocity criteria used in children cannot be used to stratify risk of stroke in adults.