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BACKGROUND: Pregnancy represents a challenge for women with sickle cell disease (SCD), with higher rates of both maternal and fetal complications. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of prophylactic transfusion support administered specifically to pregnant women with sickle hemoglobin C disease.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients were divided into two groups according to the type of transfusion support received: 10 women received prophylactic erythrocytapheresis or manual exchange transfusion at 28 weeks of gestation, and 14 received transfusions only on demand, due to acute complications, or received no transfusions at all.

RESULTS: Our results indicated higher frequencies of SCD-related complications in the group that did not receive prophylactic transfusion support (35.7% vs. only 10% in the erythrocytapheresis group). Furthermore, these complications were more severe in this group and included all cases of acute chest syndrome. A significant difference was observed concerning gestational age at birth (38.7 weeks in the transfusion group vs. 34.4 weeks, p = 0.037), with a higher frequency of preterm births in the nontransfused group (69.23% vs. 30% in the transfusion group).

CONCLUSION: We demonstrated a clear reduction of unfavorable outcomes in patients receiving prophylactic transfusions, probably reflecting better maternal and fetal conditions, which corroborated to the more satisfactory indices of vitality, observed in newborns. Considering that erythrocytapheresis or manual exchange transfusions both represent feasible and safe procedures, they could represent important tools for the optimal management of these patients.

(C) 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd