Understanding growth failure in children with homozygous sickle-cell disease

J Pediatr Oncol Nurs. Mar-Apr 2011;28(2):67-74. doi: 10.1177/1043454210382421. Epub 2010 Nov 22.


Sickle-cell disease is the most prevalent genetic hematologic condition in the United States. Numerous studies have demonstrated poor growth and delayed maturation in children with homozygous sickle-cell disease; however, the pathophysiology remains inadequately understood. Affected children have normal weight and length at birth, and then around 6 months of age their growth patterns begin to diverge from the norm. The growth deficits experienced by these children remain a problem with clinical significance and intangible consequences. A review of literature has provided insight into the multifactorial basis of the growth failure experienced by this population. It is important that nurses and health care providers are familiar with the growth patterns unique to sickle-cell disease and recognize their role in clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / complications
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / genetics
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Growth Disorders / etiology*
  • Homozygote*
  • Humans
  • Male