Prevalence and Characteristics of Priapism in Sickle Cell Disease

Priapism is a pathological condition of persistent penile erection in the absence of sexual arousal or desire. It is an urological emergency and its identification is important as lack of prompt treatment can result in erectile dysfunction. The aim of this study was to estimate and describe the characteristics (number of episodes, duration, time of occurrence and evolution) of priapism in patients with sickle cell disease. A bibliographical research was carried out in PubMed, searching for papers published in the last 5 years. Thirteen scientific articles were included in this review. The main results were: 1) the highest prevalence of priapism in males reported was 48.0% and the lowest 0.67%; 2) six studies were carried out on the African Continent (46.1%), three in America (23.1%), two in Europe (15.4%) and two in Asia (15.4%); 3) the main goal of ∼50.0% of the studies was to determine the rate of priapism in patients with sickle cell disease; 4) there was predominance of sickle cell anemia patients [homozygous Hb S (HBB: c.20A>T) genotype]; 5) the minimum age of patients with priapism was 7 years old and the maximum 30 years. In general, the episodes of priapism occurred during sleep, were recurrent and had variable duration. The prevalence of priapism are not real and the explanations include underreporting by patients, lack of awareness by physicians and lack of proper prospective studies. Priapism is a complication that deserves close attention due to its significant impact on the life of the patient with sickle cell disease and, therefore, should be further clarified.

Hemoglobin. 2018 May 10 [Epub ahead of print]

Giovanna A O Arduini, Alessandra B Trovó de Marqui

a Enfermeira pela Universidade Federal do Triângulo Mineiro (UFTM) , Uberaba , Minas Gerais , Brasil., b Professora Associada da Disciplina de Genética da UFTM , Uberaba , Minas Gerais , Brasil.