Patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) may not suffer any additional risk of worse long-term clinical outcomes 2.5 years post-SARS-CoV-2 infection compared with those without COVID-19 according to a study published in the European Journal of Haematology.

“We previously reported that there were no group differences in acute COVID-19 outcomes between SCD patients with and without COVID-19, except SCD patients with COVID-19 had a higher incidence of emergency department visits. We noted that concerns about COVID-19 illness could have driven these patients to visit the emergency department,” Feit and colleagues wrote.

The researchers reviewed the medical records of 178 patients with SCD who tested positive for COVID-19 between February 1, 2020, and January 30, 2022, and 356 patients with SCD who did not have COVID-19.

The primary outcome measure was mortality, and the secondary outcome measures included annualized emergency department visits due to pain, pain hospital admission, length of stay due to pain, acute chest syndrome, episodic transfusion, and episodic exchange transfusion.

Read more about SCD prognosis

According to the results, the mortality rates were similar among SCD patients with and without COVID-19. There were no notable differences in secondary outcome measures between patients with SCD with and without COVID-19, as well as pre-and postpandemic. There was also a limited connection between SCD care utilization and COVID-19 hospitalization status.

“While our analysis could not establish cause and effect, the possibility that COVID-19 could trigger worse long-term outcomes in SCD patients could not be ruled out. Note that post-discharge mortality in the COVID+ cohort was trending higher compared to the COVID cohort (3.9% vs. 1.7%). Additional studies are warranted.”

Both patients with SCD and those with COVID-19 suffer a higher risk of developing pulmonary embolism, hypercoagulability disease, vaso-occlusive pain crises, stroke, and acute chest syndrome.


Feit A, Gordon M, Alamuri TT, et al. Long-term clinical outcomes and healthcare utilization of sickle cell disease patients with COVID-19: a 2.5-year follow-up study. Eur J Haematol. Published online July 26, 2023. doi:10.1111/ejh.14058