Hormone Detected in Simple Blood Test Identifies Patients with Sickle Cell Disease
A hormone detected in a simple blood test can identify patients with sickle cell disease who have developed pulmonary hypertension.
Akinso: A hormone detected in a simple blood test can identify patients with sickle cell disease who have developed pulmonary hypertension. That same hormone, known as brain natriuretic peptide or BNP, is a clear predictor of death in adult sickle cell patients according to a study by the National, Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Dr. Roberto Machado, lead scientist of the study says this is an important leap forward in research on sickle cell disease.
Machado: These findings are important I think for many things. One is that we found a blood biomarker, a test that can be done by ordering a blood test that could sort of suggest the presence of pulmonary hypertension. More importantly, identify patients who are at an increased risk of dying. So what does that mean? That means that we can try and focus on understanding what's happening to these patients better. We can try and focus on developing new treatments for these patients. And we can actually make researchers in the field aware of this complication and aware of these patients, and these patients could be treated in studies that are actually on going or coming up down the pike. Specifically looking at how would patients fare when they have their sickle cell related pulmonary hypertension treated. It's important because we raise awareness about this problem. We have another tool to diagnose this problem. And we can sort of provide these patients with avenues to be treated for us to see if we can improve the quality and quantity of life of these patients.
Akinso: Sickle cell anemia is one of the most common genetic blood disorders in the U.S. About 30 percent of sickle cell patients have pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension often leads to heart failure and it's a major risk factor for death in adults with sickle cell disease. Dr. Machado said based on these findings and other studies, there is a great benefit to screening sickle cell patients with both echocardiography and blood BNP. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Roberto Machado
Topic: Sickle Cell, Pulmonary Hypertension