Hong Kong Med J 2012;18:163-5 | Number 2, April 2012
A pale Chinese boy with recurrent painful digital swelling
Frankie WT Cheng, WK Leung, Vincent Lee, Margaret HL Ng, Winnie CW Chu, KF Huen, MK Shing, CK Li
Department of Paediatrics, Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
Thalassaemia is the most common haemoglobinopathy in the Chinese population. However, recurrent painful digital swelling is not a typical manifestation of this well-known hereditary condition. We describe a case of co-inheritance of beta-thalassaemia and sickle cell trait in a Chinese family and a child who suffered from sickle cell/beta-thalassaemia with recurrent dactylitis. This report highlights awareness of this rare condition in the Chinese population, since acute manifestations can be life-threatening and mimic other emergency conditions. Prompt management can prevent further complications and avoid unnecessary interventions due to delay in diagnosis. A detailed family history and examination of the patient's peripheral blood smear is crucial to reach a correct diagnosis.
Key words: Anemia, sickle cell; beta-Thalassemia
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