Gall stones were detected by ultrasonography in 30 of 226 (13%) children with homozygous sickle cell disease aged 5-13 years participating in a cohort study from birth. Children with gall stones had significantly lower total haemoglobin and fetal haemoglobin and higher bilirubin concentrations, but further analysis showed that the apparent effects of haemoglobin and fetal haemoglobin concentration were secondary to their relationship with bilirubin concentrations. Abdominal pain crises were significantly associated with gall stones but both factors appeared to reflect an increased clinical severity and were probably not causally related. No patients had symptoms specific of gall stones and an association with abdominal pain crisis should not, of itself, be considered an indication for surgery.
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