Neuropsychologic performance in school-aged children with sickle cell disease: A report from the Cooperative Study of Sickle Cell Disease

Winfred Wang, Laura Enos, Dianne Gallagher, Robert Thompson, Ludovico Guarini, Elliott Vichinsky, Elisabeth Wright, Robert Zimmerman, F. Daniel Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

196 Scopus citations


Objectives: To compare the results of serial neuropsychologic testing in children with sickle cell disease with the results of serial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations, particularly to evaluate neuropsychologic function in the absence of overt stroke. Study design: In the Cooperative Study of Sickle Cell Disease, serial neuropsychologic and MRI tests were performed in 373 patients (255 with hemoglobin SS and 118 with hemoglobin SC), 6 to 18 years of age. MRI of the brain and a neuropsychologic battery that included the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-R or WISC-III) and the Woodcock-Johnson Math and Reading Achievement Tests were performed concurrently and repeated every 2 to 3 years. A silent infarct was defined as an MRI finding of increased signal intensity on T2 imaging in a patient without a history of stroke. Results: Twenty-seven patients, all with hemoglobin SS, had overt strokes and 62 had silent infarcts (52 with hemoglobin SS). Patients with hemoglobin SS and silent infarcts had significantly lower scores for math and reading achievement, Full-Scale IQ, Verbal IQ, and Performance IQ, when compared with those with normal MRI findings. In children with hemoglobin SS and normal MRI findings, the scores for Verbal IQ, math achievement, and coding (a subscale of Performance IQ) declined with increasing age. Conclusions: School-aged children with sickle cell disease had compromised neuropsychologic function in the presence of silent infarcts. In addition, they had declines in performance in certain areas of function over time. Therapeutic interventions that prevent or lessen cognitive impairment are needed before school entry for children with sickle cell disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-397
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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