Purpose of review: Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency and sickle cell disease (SCD) cause hemolysis, often occurring in individuals of African descent. These disorders co-occur frequently, and possibly interact, altering clinical outcomes in SCD. However, epidemiological investigations of SCD with G6PD deficiency have produced variable results. This contribution reviews the available data about the interaction of G6PD deficiency and SCD.
Recent findings: Overall, G6PD deficiency contributes few, if any, effects to laboratory values and clinical outcomes in SCD patients, but may impact transfusion efficacy. This observation is most likely because of the relatively increased G6PD activity in the young red blood cell (RBC) population seen in SCD patients with or without G6PD deficiency. In addition, G6PD deficiency possibly interacts with other genetic modifiers, such as α thalassemia, hemoglobin F levels and SCD haplotype.
Summary: Although G6PD deficiency is relatively common, it does not appear to clinically impact patients with SCD. Nonetheless, it is important to evaluate G6PD status in patients with SCD to avoid the use of medications that may cause hemolysis. Future studies evaluating the clinical impact of transfusions from G6PD-deficient RBC donors would be of the greatest benefit to the current literature.