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עמוד בית
Wed, 24.07.24

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December 2009
A. Avriel, U. Fainberg, L. Fuchs, A. Jotkowitz, A. Smoliakov, L.S. Avnon and E. Shleyfer
April 2009
A. Koren, L. Zalman, H. Palmor, R. Bril Zamir, C. Levin, A. Openheim, E. Daniel-Spiegel, S. Shalev and D. Filon

Background: Sickle cell anemia is a hemolytic anemia caused by a single mutation in position 6 of the β globin molecule. About 80 patients with SCA[1] in northern Israel are currently receiving treatment.

Objectives: To assess a screening program in northern Israel aimed at detecting couples at risk for having offspring with SCA.

Methods: Since 1987, screening for β thalassemia in pregnant women in northern Israel has been conducted, and from 1999 all the samples were also tested for hemoglobin S, Hgb C, Hgb D, Hgb O Arab and others.

Results: During the 20 year period 1987–2006 a total of 69,340 women were screened; 114 couples who carried Hgb S were detected and 187 prenatal diagnoses were performed in couples at risk for having an offspring with Hgb S. The mean gestational age was 13 ± 4 weeks. Fifty-four of those diagnoses revealed affected fetuses and in 4 cases the couple declined to perform therapeutic abortion.

Conclusions: The economic burden to the health services for treating SCA patients is about U.S.$ 7000 per year, and the institution of prevention programs has proven cost-effective in populations with a high frequency of carriers. Since our program is aimed to also detect β thalassemia, a disease that is more frequent in this area (> 2.5%), the added cost for the prevention of SCA is less significant in spite a low incidence of the S gene in our population, namely < 1%.

[1] SCA = sickle cell anemia

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