Haemoglobin oxygen saturation is a determinant of cerebral artery blood flow velocity in children with sickle cell anaemia

Charles T. Quinn, Jennifer Variste, Michael M. Dowling

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42 Scopus citations


Steady-state haemoglobin (Hb) desaturation is a common finding in sickle cell anaemia (Hb SS) that could predispose to stroke by limiting oxygen delivery to the brain. To determine its association with the risk of overt stroke, we examined the relationship between daytime Hb saturation measured by pulse oximetry (SpO2) and cerebral artery blood flow velocity measured by transcranial Doppler ultrasonography (TCD), an established risk factor for overt stroke in Hb SS. We studied 181 children using multivariate models to control for known determinants of TCD velocity, including age, haematocrit, and a measure of stenosis. We found that SpO2 correlated significantly and inversely with TCD velocity in both the right and left middle cerebral arteries. Hb desaturation was associated with increased cerebral artery blood flow velocities and increased odds of abnormal TCD velocities, hence increased risk of stroke. About 5% of the variation in TCD velocity could be ascribed to Hb saturation while controlling for other determinants of TCD velocity. In conclusion, Hb saturation is a determinant of TCD velocity and a risk factor for stroke in children with Hb SS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-505
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2009



  • Pulse oximetry
  • Risk factor
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Stroke
  • Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

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