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A Journal on Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2000 June;135(3):379-82

Leg ulcers and sickle cell disease: case report

D’Onghia F. S., Rosina P., Bertuzzo D. *, Vassanelli A. *, Chieregato G.

Università degli Studi - Verona Istituto di Dermatologia e Venereologia Azienda Ospedaliera - Verona
* Servizio di Immunoematologia e Trasfusione


The sickle cell anemia is a hereditary disease caused by structural alterations of the beta chain of hemoglobin with the presence of a hemoglobin variant known as Hb S. Consequences of sickle cell anemia are more serious in homozygous subjects. The principal clinical characteristics are: chronic hemolytic anemia and vase-occlusive phenomenon of microcirculation (microvascular infarction, painful progressive crisis, organ insufficiency). Ischemic leg ulcers represent the most common cutaneous complication and an important sanitary problem above all in tropical countries. The case of a 26 year-old black man, born in Angola, with homozygous sickle cell anemia is describe. He arrived at our observation for the appearance of an ulcer of 12 mm on the left ankle. Analogous lesions had been appearing with recurrent course for ten years with scarring results. The patient worked in a metallurgical factory for many hours at assembling chain in erect and fixed station. The lesions healed with local therapy, temporary work abstention but above all with increase of the transfusion support, maintaining levels of Hb> 10 gr/ dl. This case is reported for the rare frequency of observation of leg ulcers due to sickle cell disease in our country. This will become more common in the course of the next years for the increasing phenomenon of immigration. The importance of the postural station for the onset of these lesions and the utility of the transfusion therapy for their resolution are underlined.

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