Venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in hospitalized sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait patients

Eur J Haematol. 2022 Sep;109(3):282-288. doi: 10.1111/ejh.13807. Epub 2022 Jun 8.


Introduction: Sickle trait (Hb SA) or sickle disease (Hb SS) carries increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE). Hb SS patients are young and lack common comorbid conditions that qualify them for VTE prophylaxis (VTEP).

Methods: Retrospective, multicenter analysis of Hb SS/Hb SA adult patients between January 2013 and December 2018.

Results: There were 803 Hb SA (525 patients) and 1020 Hb SS admissions (262 patients). VTEP use was similar between Hb SA and controls (42% vs. 46%; p-value = .06) and Hb SS and controls (45% vs. 42%; p-value = .13). Hb SS/Hb SA patients more frequently received more than half of prescribed doses of VTEP. In multivariate analysis, increasing age and longer hospitalizations were positive predictors. Odds of VTEP use varied with treatment site for Hb SS patients, whereas comorbid conditions, admission hemoglobin and platelet count were not predictive. By contrast, in Hb SA patients, comorbid conditions, higher admission hemoglobin, and higher admission platelet counts raised the odds of VTEP being offered.

Conclusions: VTEP is underused in Hb SS/Hb SA patients. There may be a trend toward offering more VTEP in Hb SS disease, but not in Hb SA patients, where VTEP prescribing is driven by comorbid conditions rather than genotype. Patient compliance does not appear to play a major role, but intercenter variability suggests provider education may improve VTEP use.

Keywords: hemoglobinopathies; sickle cell disease; sickle cell trait; venous thromboembolism prophylaxis.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell* / complications
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell* / drug therapy
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sickle Cell Trait* / complications
  • Venous Thromboembolism* / epidemiology
  • Venous Thromboembolism* / etiology
  • Venous Thromboembolism* / prevention & control


  • Anticoagulants