A fatal case of acute chest syndrome in a patient with undiagnosed sickle cell trait
We report a fatal case of acute chest syndrome in an African-American male. The patient was hospitalized for respiratory distress, fevers, and pulmonary infiltrates after working in an attic space on a summer day. An extensive work-up failed to reveal an etiology for his respiratory failure. He died of respiratory failure two weeks after admission. Autopsy findings suggested the patient had clinically unrecognized sickle cell trait exacerbated by working in the heat, causing acute chest syndrome with a fatal outcome. Clinicians should consider acute chest syndrome and sickle cell trait in the differential diagnosis of patients with unexplained respiratory failure and pulmonary infiltrates.