Sociodemographic aspects and quality of life of patients with sickle cell anemia

Rev Bras Hematol Hemoter. 2013;35(4):242-5. doi: 10.5581/1516-8484.20130093.


Background: Sickle cell anemia is a chronic inherited disease, widespread in the Brazilian population due to the high degree of miscegenation in the country. Despite the high prevalence, there are few studies describing the characteristics of patients and the impact of the disease on quality of life.

Objective: To describe the sociodemographic profile and the impact of the disease on the quality of life of sickle cell anemia patients.

Methods: Over 18-year-old patients with sickle cell anemia who attended meetings held by the Associação Baiana de Portadores de Doenças Falciformes, an association for sickle cell anemia patients in Bahia, were interviewed. Sociodemographic data were collected and the generic the Medical Outcomes 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) questionnaire, which is used to assess quality of life, was applied. The analysis of the descriptive statistics was performed using the Statistics Program for the Social Sciences software.

Results: Thirty-two mostly female (65.6%) patients were interviewed. The mean age was 31.9 ± 12.67 years, 50.0% considered themselves black, 68.8% did not work and 87.5% had per capita income below the poverty line (up to one and a half minimum wages). The SF-36 scores were: limitation by physical aspects 26.56, functional capacity 28.9, emotional aspects 30.20, social aspects, 50.0, pain 50.31, mental health 54.62, general health status 56.09 and vitality 56.71. This shows that the disease has a huge impact on the patients' quality of life.

Conclusion: The disease interferes in the working capacity of individuals, who mostly have low incomes and impaired access to healthcare services and significantly impacts on their quality of life.

Keywords: Anemia, sickle cell; Chronic disease; Health profile; Quality of life; Questionnaires; Socioeconomic factors.