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As iron continues to build up in the body,complications happen more often

People with sickle cell disease and iron overload had higher rates of:

Death (64% vs. 5%)

Organ failure (71% vs. 19%)

Pain episodes (64% vs. 38%)

§Defined as serum ferritin levels >1,500 ng/mL and transferrin saturation >50%

Consider your kidneys!

Kidney complications are common in people with sickle cell disease – affecting 30-50% of adults. Careful monitoring of kidney function is important to prevent further damage to the kidneys. Talk to your doctor and ensure you are on an appropriate iron chelator at the right dosing level that doesn’t impact your kidneys or liver. Your doctor may recommend that you see a specialist to evaluate your kidney function.

The only way to know if your iron chelator is working is to have your iron levels checked regularly.

Iron chelation needs to be adjusted regularly or even switched depending on your iron level, weight, and tolerance to side effects.

Sickle Cell Disease treatment guidelines support regular monitoring of serum ferritin, and MRI T2* of the heart and liver
ParameterTargetExpert panel recommendation
Serum ferritin25-300 ng/mLMonthly
Liver iron concentration (LIC)800-3,500 µg/g dry weightEvery 1-2 years
Cardiac MRI T2*>20 milliseconds (ms)Performed if you have:
  • sickle cell disease with a high iron load (liver iron concentration of >15 mg/g [dry weight (dw)]) for 2 years or more
  • signs of organ damage because of transfusional iron overload
  • or signs of damage to heart function

Appropriate chelation treatment maintains iron levels within recommended ranges.