In sickle cell anemia (SCA), the loss of red blood cell (RBC) deformability was thought to be the primary cause of bouts of acute discomfort and downstream progressive organ failure. Oxygen gradient ektacytometry (Oxygenscan) was a newly commercialized functional assay to explain the deformability of RBCs in SCA at various oxygen pressures. So far, only a few research organizations have studied the Oxygenscan, and the validity and therapeutic relevance of Oxygenscan-derived biomarkers have not been thoroughly proven. Therefore, the study assessed RBC deformability using the Oxygenscan in 91 children with SCA at King’s College Hospital in London.
Researchers discovered a substantial relationship between Oxygenscan-derived biomarkers and well-known disease severity modifiers in SCA: hemoglobin F and co-inherited -thalassemia. However, they could not identify any independent predictive value of the Oxygenscan in the clinical outcome measure of pain, as well as other crucial factors like hydroxycarbamide therapy. Although the Oxygenscan was an attractive tool for fundamental research, the findings raised the question of whether it gave any extra information in predicting the clinical course of SCA in children beyond detecting recognized disease severity indicators.