Uchenna C Nnajekwu1, Chukwubike O Nnajekwu1, Vivian O Onukwuli1,2, Bartholomew F Chukwu1,2, Anthony N Ikefuna1,2, Ifeoma J Emodi1,2
- Department of Paediatrics, University Of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria.
- Department of Paediatrics, College Of Medicine, University Of Nigeria, Enugu Campus.
*Corresponding Authors: Uchenna C Nnajekwu; E-mail: email@example.com
Folic acid supplementation is an integral aspect of the management of children with sickle cell anaemia (SCA) especially in Africa. In spite of this, there have been concerns about lower folate levels, especially during crisis. Aim To determine red cell folate levels of children with sickle cell anaemia in steady state and during crisis and compare with those with haemoglobin AA genotype.
This study was prospective, hospital based, and comparative. Fifty children with sickle cell anaemia were recruited during crises and followed up until they met the criteria for attaining steady state. The controls were fifty children matched with those with SCA for age and gender and had haemoglobin AA genotype. Red cell folate estimation was done with the Electrochemiluminescence Immunoassay (ECLIA) method using the automated Roche Cobas e411 equipment.
The median (IQR) red cell folate level in children during sickle cell crisis was 265.95 (134.50) ng/ml, which was significantly lower than the median (IQR) of 376.30 (206.85) ng/ml obtained during steady state. Most children with SCA (41 out of 50) had significantly higher folate levels during steady state (T=1081, Z-score= -4.660, p < 0.001). Median level of red cell folate was lower during anaemic crisis compared to vaso-occlusive crisis, though not significantly so (N(50), U = 214.00, Z-score= -1.077, p = 0.305). The median red cell folate level of normal controls was 343.55 (92.90) ng/ml, which was significantly lower than the 376.30 (206.85) ng/ml obtained during steady state (N(50), U= 209.00, Z-score= -7.177, p <0.001).
Median red cell folate levels of the study participants were within normal limits, though most children with SCA had significantly higher levels during steady state compared to crisis. Normal controls had significantly lower red cell folate levels than the children with SCA during steady state.