Aims and objectives: To compare the outcome after a first clinical stroke, following treatment with and without hydroxyurea (HU).
Subjects and methods: A retrospective review of a cohort of Nigerian children with SCD, who had suffered a first stroke, was carried out. Outcomes in the group of children who received and did not receive HU were compared.
Results: Thirty two children presented with stroke and one died of haemorrhagic stroke at presentation. All the children had haemoglobin SS phenotype, and ischaemic stroke was the predominant form seen. Mean age at first clinical stroke was 7 years, 7 months (SD=2 years, 4 months). Thirteen children received HU while 18 declined HU therapy. Maximum dose of HU ranged from 20-25 mg/kg/ day. The secondary stroke incidence of 7/100 person years in the HU group was significantly lower than the 28/100 person years in the non-HU group (P=0.001, OR 3.808, 95% CI 1.556, 9.317). Children who did not receive HU were more likely to drop out of school and to have moderate-severe motor disabilities requiring caregiver assistance for daily living.
Conclusion: In settings where facilities for chronic blood transfusion are not accessible or feasible, HU therapy should be considered for secondary stroke prevention in children with SCD.