Background: Pulmonary complications of sickle cell disease (SCD) are diverse and encompass acute and chronic disease. The understanding of the natural history of pulmonary complications of SCD is limited, no specific therapies exist, and these complications are a primary cause of morbidity and mortality.Methods: We gathered a multidisciplinary group of pediatric and adult hematologists, pulmonologists, and emergency medicine physicians with expertise in SCD-related lung disease along with an SCD patient advocate for an American Thoracic Society-sponsored workshop to review the literature and identify key unanswered clinical and research questions. Participants were divided into four subcommittees on the basis of expertise: 1) acute chest syndrome, 2) lower airways disease and pulmonary function, 3) sleep-disordered breathing and hypoxia, and 4) pulmonary vascular complications of SCD. Before the workshop, a comprehensive literature review of each subtopic was conducted. Clinically important questions were developed after literature review and were finalized by group discussion and consensus.Results: Current knowledge is based on small, predominantly observational studies, few multicenter longitudinal studies, and even fewer high-quality interventional trials specifically targeting the pulmonary complications of SCD. Each subcommittee identified the three or four most important unanswered questions in their topic area for researchers to direct the next steps of clinical investigation.Conclusions: Important and clinically relevant questions regarding sickle cell lung disease remain unanswered. High-quality, multicenter, longitudinal studies and randomized clinical trials designed and implemented by teams of multidisciplinary clinician-investigators are needed to improve the care of individuals with SCD.
Keywords: acute chest syndrome; asthma; pulmonary hypertension; sickle cell disease; sleep disorders.