In a prospective cohort study, we tested the hypothesis that children with sickle cell anemia (SCA) with normal transcranial Doppler ultrasound (TCD) velocities and without silent cerebral infarcts (SCIs) would have a lower incidence rate of new neurological events (strokes, seizures or transient ischemic attacks) compared to children with normal TCD measurements and SCIs, not receiving regular blood transfusions. Nonrandomized participants from the silent cerebral infarct transfusion (SIT) Trial who had screening magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain and normal TCD measurements were included. Follow-up ended at the time of first neurological event (stroke, seizure or transient ischemic attack), start of regular blood transfusion, or loss to follow-up, whichever came first. The primary endpoint was a new neurological event. Of 421 participants included, 68 had suspected SCIs. Mean follow-up was 3.6 years. Incidence rates of new neurological events in nontransfused participants with normal TCD values with SCIs and without SCIs were 1.71 and 0.47 neurological events per 100 patient-years, respectively, P =.065. The absence of SCI(s) at baseline was associated with a decreased risk of a new neurological event (hazard ratio 0.231, 95% CI 0.062-0.858; P =.029). Local pediatric neurologists examined 67 of 68 participants with suspected SCIs and identified 2 with overt strokes classified as SCIs by local hematologists; subsequently one had a seizure and the other an ischemic stroke. Children with SCA, without SCIs, and normal TCD measurements have a significantly lower rate of new neurological events when compared to those with SCIs and normal TCD measurements. Pediatric neurology assessment may assist risk stratification.
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