AIM--To assess levels of some biochemical variables in sickle cell disease patients from eastern Saudi Arabia during steady state and in crises states, with a view to comparing biochemical and clinical manifestations of the disease with those in other geographical locations. METHODS--Serum calcium, uric acid, total bilirubin, lactate dehydrogenase, hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase, and haemoglobin were measured in 110 sickle cell patients when in steady state. The same variables were measured on 30 of the patients when they went into crisis. RESULTS--Serum calcium tended to be lower in sickle cell patients than in healthy controls, while uric acid tended to be in the high normal range. Crises did not make any difference to serum calcium but they increased the uric acid level significantly. All the other variables measured were significantly abnormal and more so during crises. CONCLUSIONS--Although the abnormal levels obtained for these biochemical variables in patients with sickle cell disease from eastern Saudi Arabia were similar to those from other geographical locations, there were noticeable differences in the severity of the abnormalities, which probably explains the differences in the clinical manifestations of the disease between geographical locations. Values of some of these variables could be adapted for use to monitor crises.
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