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Clinical Investigations: RESPIRATORY SYMPTOMS |

Factors Associated With Dyspnea in Adult Patients With Sickle Cell Disease*

Christophe Delclaux, MD, PhD; Françoise Zerah-Lancner, MD; Dora Bachir, MD; Anoosha Habibi, MD; Jean-Luc Monin, MD; Bertrand Godeau, MD; Frédéric Galacteros, MD, PhD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Service de Physiologie (Drs. Delclaux and Zerah-Lancner), Explorations Fonctionnelles, the Centre de la Drépanocytose (Drs. Bachir, Habibi, and Galacteros), the Service de Cardiologie (Dr. Monin), and the Service de Médecine Interne (Dr. Godeau), Hôpital Henri Mondor, Assistance Publique–Hôpitaux de Paris, Créteil, France.

Correspondence to: Christophe Delclaux, MD, PhD, Service de Physiologie-Radio-Isotopes, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, 20-40, rue Leblanc, 75908 Paris cedex 15, France; e-mail: christophe.delclaux@egp.aphp.fr



Chest. 2005;128(5):3336-3344. doi:10.1378/chest.128.5.3336
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Objective: The aim of this prospective study was to determine the cardiorespiratory factors associated with dyspnea in patients with sickle cell SS-hemoglobin disease, with a specific interest in lung vascular involvement.

Measurements: Forty-nine patients (29 women and 20 men; mean [± SD] age: women, 29 ± 6 years; men, 31 ± 11 years) underwent direct evaluations (Borg scale evaluation during a 6-min walk test) and indirect evaluations (modified Medical Research Council [MRC]score) of their dyspnea, pulmonary function tests (PFTs) [spirometry, volumes, diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (Dlco), diffusing capacity of the alveolar-capillary membrane, and pulmonary capillary blood volume measurements], echocardiography, and biological evaluation.

Results: Thirty-four patients complained of significant breathlessness (MRC score, > 1). Indirect and direct evaluations of dyspnea were correlated. PFT results depicted a very mild restrictive pattern (mean total pulmonary capacity, 86 ± 11% predicted) and an impairment of Dlco (mean Dlco corrected for the degree of anemia, 69 ± 13% predicted). The statistical analysis demonstrated that dyspnea and exercise performance were closely linked to indexes of Dlco but not with any echocardiographic or biological measure including anemia. Nevertheless, only approximately 25% of the variability was explained by these associations. Despite having a similar history of vasoocclusive crisis events, women had more severe anemia, dyspnea, decreases in Dlco (corrected for the degree of anemia), and a higher capillary blood volume (corrected for alveolar volume) than men.

Conclusion: Lung vascular disease contributes to dyspnea and the exercise limitation of patients with sickle cell disease. A sequential assessment of Dlco would therefore constitute one of the objective functional end points for follow-up studies of these patients.

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