Patients with either homozygous or heterozygous sickle cell disease may have frequent episodes of abdominal pain and/or fever of uncertain cause. While many of these episodes represent a so-called sterile crisis, the possibility of gross organ infarction and rupture, infection, or other complication cannot be ignored. Computed tomography (CT) was used to evaluate 30 such patients. Virtually all patients had splenic abnormalities, which could be considered clinically significant (rupture, hemorrhage) or insignificant (calcified spleen). In four patients hepatic abnormalities were found, including one case of multiple liver infarction, one of hepatic abscess, and two of retained intrahepatic gallstones after cholecystectomy. Two patients had significant acute renal abnormalities, including one case of interstitial nephritis and one of renal vein thrombosis. One patient had a ruptured periappendiceal abscess and one a pericolonic abscess. One patient had an abscess around a total hip replacement. CT was found to be an excellent and relatively noninvasive means of both initial investigation and subsequent follow-up.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging