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      The epidemiology of stroke in sickle cell patients in Yaounde, Cameroon.

      Journal of the Neurological Sciences

      therapy, epidemiology, Stroke, Secondary Prevention, trends, statistics & numerical data, Quality of Health Care, Prevalence, Male, Infant, Humans, Female, Disability Evaluation, Diagnostic Errors, Cross-Sectional Studies, Comorbidity, Child, Preschool, Child, Cerebral Infarction, Cerebral Hemorrhage, Cameroon, Anemia, Sickle Cell, Adult, physiopathology, Adolescent

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          Stroke, a severe and recurrent but preventable complication of sickle cell disease (SCD), has not been well studied in Cameroon. To obtain baseline data towards the development of a national stroke prevention programme in SCD, we studied a sample of sickle cell patients with the aim of determining stroke prevalence, clinical presentation and management practices. Homozygous sickle cell patients in two centres in Yaounde were screened for stroke, in a cross-sectional study. Stroke was diagnosed clinically and confirmed where possible with brain computerized tomography. The National Institutes of Health Stroke Score (NIHSS) and modified Rankin scale (mRS) were used to assess stroke severity. Management practices were noted from patient charts. One hundred and twenty patients aged 7 months to 35 years (mean age 13.49+/-8.79 years) were included. Eight cases of stroke (mean age 16.6+/-11.2 years) were identified, giving a stroke prevalence of 6.67%. Cerebral infarction was thrice as common as cerebral hemorrhage and clinical presentation was classical. Cerebral infarction was more frequent in patients aged below 20 years and hemorrhage in those above 20 (p=0.11). The annual recurrence rate was 25%. Missed diagnosis rate by attending physician was 25%. The NIHSS and mRS showed high stroke severity. Stroke management practices were insufficient and no patient received any form of stroke prophylaxis. Stroke prevalence and presentation in sickle cell patients in Yaounde is similar to that observed in developed countries, but the wide management gap calls for rapid action. Our situation is ideal for the study of the natural history of stroke in sickle cell disease.

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