Hypothyroidism in adults with sickle cell anemia

Academic Article


  • Persons with sickle cell anemia have several indications for transfusion of red blood cells. One of the complications of transfusion of red blood cells is iron overload. Iron overload has been associated with multiple endocrine abnormalities. We report herein three cases of hypothyroidism in adult individuals with sickle cell disease. All three patients were over the age of 45 years at the time of the diagnosis and had received multiple units of transfused red blood cells and had serum ferritin levels of greater than 6,000 ng/mL. All patients were diagnosed during times when they were critically ill. Replacement therapy was instituted in all cases, however, all three patients died shortly after the diagnosis of hypothyroidism was made. Congestive heart failure appeared to be a primary cause of death in all three patients. In the one patient in whom a postmortem examination was done, there was evident extensive fibrosis of the thyroid gland as well as extensive deposition of iron in the cells lining the thyroid follicles. We believe that this represents the first report of clinical hypothyroidism in patients with sickle cell anemia who have received multiple transfusions. Awareness of this condition is especially important given that congestive heart failure is common in sickle cell disease. © 1992.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Phillips G; Becker B; Keller VA; Hartman IV J
  • Start Page

  • 567
  • End Page

  • 570
  • Volume

  • 92
  • Issue

  • 5