Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Sickle cell anaemia and the NBT test
  1. Thomas R. Walters1,
  2. B. Narasimha Reddy
  1. Department of Paediatrics, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey, USA


    Patients with sickle cell anaemia have an increased susceptibility to bacterial infections Previous reports of false-negative nitro blue tetrazolium (NBT) tests in the presence of bacteria infection and of a faulty phagocytic response following stimulation in vitro have suggested the possibility of polymorphonuclear dysfunction in certain patients with sickle cell anaemia.

    In the present study an unstimulated, histochemical NBT technique was used to evaluate the test in patients with sickle cell anaemia. There was a significant difference between the results in the group of patients with infection (mean NBT-positive cells 42·7%) compared to those without infection (mean 9·4%). There was no significant correlation between the total white blood cell count, absolute number of polymorphonuclear cells, and infectious complications.

    These findings indicate an appropriate polymorphonuclear cell response, as evaluated by the NBT test, in patients with sickle cell anaemia and bacterial infection. The NBT test may be used as an additional parameter in the differentiation of those patients with sickle cell anaemia with bacterial infection.

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


    • 1 Address for reprints: Thomas R. Walters, MD, New Jersey Medical School, Department of Paediatrics, 100 Bergen Street, Newark, New Jersey, 07103