Cerebrovascular disease in sickle cell disease

Pract Neurol. 2023 Apr;23(2):131-138. doi: 10.1136/pn-2022-003440. Epub 2022 Sep 19.


Sickle cell disease (SCD) is the most common type of hereditary anaemia and genetic disorder worldwide. Cerebrovascular disease is one of its most devastating complications, with consequent increased morbidity and mortality. Current guidelines suggest that children and adults with SCD who develop acute ischaemic stroke should be transfused without delay. Those with acute ischaemic stroke aged over 18 years who present within 4.5 hours of symptom onset should be considered for intravenous thrombolysis; older patients with conventional vascular risk factors are the most likely to benefit. Endovascular thrombectomy should be considered carefully in adults with SCD as there are few data to guide how the prevalence of cerebral vasculopathy may confound the expected benefits or risks of intervention. We present a practical approach to cerebrovascular disease in sickle cell patients based on the available evidence and our experience.

Keywords: haematology; stroke.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell* / complications
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell* / epidemiology
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell* / therapy
  • Brain Ischemia* / complications
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Stroke* / complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke* / epidemiology
  • Stroke* / etiology
  • Stroke* / therapy