Red Blood Cell and Serum Magnesium Levels Among Children and Adolescents With Sickle Cell Anemia

  • Osama Omar Yousif
  • Mea’ad Kadhum Hassan
  • Lamia Mustafa Al-Naama


Patients with sickle cell anemia (SCA) can acquire many biochemical abnormalities, including altered magnesium levels. However, the roles of magnesium in the pathogenesis and management of SCA need to be determined. The aim of this work was to evaluate magnesium levels among pediatric patients with SCA in Basra, Iraq. The study employed a case-control design and examined 87 patients with SCA (3–15 years old) who had attended the Basra Center for Hereditary Blood Diseases while in a steady state and 90 apparently healthy control subjects. Complete blood count, red blood cell (RBC), and serum magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, zinc, and copper levels were measured in all subjects. The results revealed significantly lower RBC and serum magnesium levels among the patients with SCA (3.62 ± 0.42 and 1.35 ± 0.19 mg/dL, respectively) than those among the control subjects (4.47 ± 0.55 and 1.87 ± 0.27 mg/dL, respectively). In addition, compared to the control subjects, the patients with SCA had significantly lower serum levels of potassium, sodium, and zinc; significantly higher serum levels of copper; and significantly higher Ca/Mg and Na/Mg ratios. Among the SCA patients, the RBC magnesium level was significantly negatively associated with the frequencies of vaso-occlusive crises (r = − 0.423, P < 0.001) and disease-related hospitalization (r = − 0.225, P < 0.05). To conclude, the RBC magnesium level, but not the serum magnesium level, is significantly associated with vaso-occlusive crises and hospitalization. Therefore, screening and management of low RBC magnesium levels in SCA patients are required.


Magnesium Sickle cell anemia Children 



We thank Dr. Maysaa B. Al-Rudainee, family physician, Basra Health Directorate, and Dr. Assad Yehia, Professor of Animal Breeding, College of Agriculture, for their extensive assistance in conducting the statistical analysis of the data. We also thank Mrs. Sumaya S. Ali, Biochemistry Department, College of Medicine, Basra University, for her help and kind cooperation.

Authors’ Contributions

OA, MK, and LM designed and planned the study. OA collected the data and the samples, and LM performed the lab investigations. All authors contributed to the writing of the manuscript and have read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures in studies involving human participants were performed in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Osama Omar Yousif
    • 1
  • Mea’ad Kadhum Hassan
    • 2
  • Lamia Mustafa Al-Naama
    • 3
  1. 1.Basra Pediatric Specialty Hospital, Basra Health DirectorateBasraIraq
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, College of MedicineUniversity of BasraBasraIraq
  3. 3.Department of Biochemistry, College of MedicineUniversity of BasraBasraIraq

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