According to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research, people with sickle cell anemia (SCA) are more commonly hospitalized in the cooler winter and spring seasons than in the hotter summer or fall.
Cold temperature is a known trigger for vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC), a painful acute complication of sickle cell. However, how seasonal fluctuation affects the disease severity and healthcare utilization is not fully understood. According to the authors, a deeper insight into how sickle cell symptoms tend to fluctuate with changing weather could help patients manage their condition better.
The twenty-year retrospective study in Brazil analyzed the health and meteorological parameters from a metropolis (1999-2018) to investigate the influence of climate on hospitalizations of sickle cell anemia (SCA) adults and children.
The researchers analyzed one thousand four hundred and sixty-two hospitalizations for SCA patients in crisis and one thousand three hundred fifty-four hospitalizations for SCA patients without crisis. Of the study participants with SCA, one thousand two hundred and fifty-five were children and one thousand five hundred and sixty-one were adults.
The study revealed that more children and adults were hospitalized due to VOC in the winter and spring than in summer and autumn. However, the researchers noted that most patients hospitalized due to VOC were generally older—more commonly adults.
“The number of hospitalizations was higher in the winter (July-September) and spring (October–December) months than in the summer (January-March) and autumn (April-June) months for all patients, and each group of patients (children and adults),” the researchers wrote.
Furthermore, the researchers also found that hospitalizations were positively correlated with humidity, maximum pressure, mean pressure, and thermal amplitude. However, hospitalization was negatively correlated with maximum pressure. According to the researchers, understanding these complex associations would help patients and their caregivers make attitudinal and behavioral modifications that may help alleviate hospitalizations due to VOC.
“Although this study showed that there is no immediate effect, lagged associations were observed between some meteorological parameters and the hospitalizations of SCA patients,” the researchers wrote. They also added that the study “buttresses previous studies that showed that meteorological parameters may not influence the number and duration of hospitalizations of SCA patients at the time of hospitalization.”
Source: sickle cell anemia news
Journal source: International Journal of Environmental Health Research.