Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Delays in Children 0 to 5 Years of Age with Sickle Cell Disease: A Systematic Literature Review

La'Kita M.J. Knight, Allison A. King, John J. Strouse, Paula Tanabe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is the most common abnormal genetic blood disease that affects ∼100,000 Americans. Approximately 20% to 37% of children with sickle cell anemia have silent cerebral infarcts by the age of 14 years old. Neurocognitive deficits are identified in infants and preschool children with SCD. The purpose of this systematic literature review is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the prevalence, severity, and the associated risk factors for neurodevelopmental delays (NDDs) in children with SCD 5 years of age and younger. Methods: Systematic search of 6 databases identified 2467 potentially relevant publications and 8 were identified through a manual search. Only 24 articles met the inclusion criteria. Results: We identified an increased prevalence of NDDs (cognitive, motor, or both). Children experienced deficits with language, attention and behavior, executive functioning, school readiness and/or academic performance, and motor skills (fine and gross motor functioning). Risk factors include silent cerebral infarcts and strokes, SCD genotype (HbSS>HbSC), other biologic, and social factors. Conclusion: NDDs are common in children ages 0 to 5 years old with SCD. There is an opportunity to improve adherence to national guideline recommendations and early detection practices by pediatricians, hematologists, and other health care providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-111
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • neurocognitive or neurodevelopmental delay
  • pediatrics
  • sickle cell anemia
  • sickle cell disease
  • silent cerebral infarct
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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