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Asthma in children with sickle cell disease

Willen, Shaina M.a; Rodeghier, Markb; DeBaun, Michael R.c

Current Opinion in Pediatrics: June 2019 - Volume 31 - Issue 3 - p 349–356
doi: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000756
PULMONOLOGY: Edited by David N. Cornfield

Purpose of review Asthma is common in children with sickle cell disease (SCD) and appears to be associated with increased morbidity. Providers caring for children with SCD have struggled with the question of whether asthma exists as a true comorbidity or whether certain aspects of the chronic inflammatory disease gives children with SCD an asthma-like phenotype.

Recent findings Clinical signs and symptoms seen in children with asthma in the general population, such as wheezing, airway hyperresponsiveness, atopy, elevated leukotrienes, and abnormal lung function are seen in children with SCD both with and without a diagnosis of asthma.

Summary Current evidence highlights that the presence of lung disease in children with SCD has significant implications irrespective of the underlying cause, including asthma. Further research should focus on well tolerated and effective interventions to prevent disease-related complications for children with pulmonary complications of SCD.

aDivision of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, San Francisco, California

bRodeghier Consultants, Chicago, Illinois

cDivision of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt-Meharry Center for Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Correspondence to Shaina M. Willen, MD, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, 550 16th Street, 5th floor, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA. Tel: +1 415 502 8231; fax: +1 415 476 5354; e-mail:

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