Practice patterns for stroke prevention using transcranial Doppler in sickle cell anemia: DISPLACE Consortium

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2020 Apr;67(4):e28172. doi: 10.1002/pbc.28172. Epub 2020 Jan 11.


Background: Children with sickle cell anemia (SCA) are at increased risk for stroke. In 2014, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) developed guidelines for stroke prevention in SCA informed by the Stroke Prevention Trial in Sickle Cell Anemia (STOP) and Optimizing Primary Stroke Prevention in Sickle Cell Anemia (STOP II) trials. The guidelines specify the use of transcranial Doppler (TCD) screening and intervention with chronic red cell transfusions (CRCT) in children with SCA who have TCD indication of high stroke risk. The purpose of this study was to describe real-world practice patterns of stroke risk screening and intervention in sites that participated in the Dissemination and Implementation of Stroke Prevention Looking at the Care Environment (DISPLACE) Consortium.

Procedure: Site investigators completed a survey during the formative stages of the study to evaluate their TCD practices relative to the STOP studies. Descriptive statistics and analysis of free-text comments for more complex practices were evaluated.

Results: Results suggested universal acceptance of annual TCD screening and initiation of CRCT following an abnormal result among the DISPLACE Consortium, consistent with NHLBI recommendations. However, there was wide variation in methods for conducting TCD screenings (eg, dedicated Doppler vs TCD imaging), classifying TCD results, and actions taken for conditional and inadequate results.

Conclusions: Annual TCD screening and initiation of CRCT are critical stroke prevention practices that were universally embraced in the consortium. Additional research would be beneficial for informing clinical practices for areas in which guidelines are absent or unclear.

Keywords: clinical practice; prevention; sickle cell anemia; stroke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / diagnostic imaging*
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Primary Prevention*
  • Stroke* / diagnostic imaging
  • Stroke* / etiology
  • Stroke* / prevention & control
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Transcranial*