Sickle cell trait (SCT) is a rare and underdiagnosed disorder in the Argentinian population. In this condition, individuals carry the mutation of the HbS gene in one of the two beta-globin genes. In general, SCT does not present with the typical manifestations of sickle cell anemia. However, under certain circumstances, some clinical characteristics of the disease may develop.
We discussed the case of a 39-Year old man who presented with persistent abdominal pain of unknown origin after traveling to a high-altitude place. He underwent laparotomy without a definite diagnosis. After that, the patient developed signs of splenic infarction and pulmonary thromboembolism that were confirmed by computed tomography.
A sickling test was positive, and a hemoglobin electrophoresis revealed an abnormal fraction at the HbS level. In this context a diagnosis of SCT was made. Additional, tests revealed a strongly positive lupus anticoagulant.
SCT presentation as abdominal pain and thromboembolic disease in adult patients after exposure to high altitudes is a rarely suspected diagnosis.