Serum ferritin level is one of the most commonly requested investigations in both primary and secondary care. Whilst low serum ferritin levels invariably indicate reduced iron stores, raised serum ferritin levels can be due to multiple different aetiologies, including iron overload, inflammation, liver or renal disease, malignancy, and the recently described metabolic syndrome. A key test in the further investigation of an unexpected raised serum ferritin is the serum transferrin saturation. This guideline reviews the investigation and management of a raised serum ferritin level. The investigation and management of genetic haemochromatosis is not dealt with however and is the subject of a separate guideline.
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a generic term for an inherited group of disorders that includes homozygous sickle cell anaemia (SS), sickle cell/haemoglobin C (SC) sickle cell/βthalassemia (S/β thal) and other compound heterozygous conditions. SCD is characterised by the presence of the mutated β‐globin gene, HBBs (also termed βs‐globin). On de‐oxygenation, this forms a polymeric structure resulting in deformed, rigid red blood cells, and is associated with a chronic haemolytic anaemia due to shortened red cell life span and vaso‐occlusion causing frequent episodes of severe bony pain (vaso‐occlusive crises) and other acute and chronic complications. These include an increased risk of stroke, pulmonary hypertension, acute and chronic lung damage, chronic renal failure and leg ulcers.