Background: Biochemical abnormalities have been associated with sickle cell disease. Studies on phosphorus and magnesium in sickle cell disease have been conflicting. There is paucity of information on the role of these ions in the pathogenesis and management of sickle cell disease. This study was set out to determine the serum levels of magnesium, phosphorus and calcium in Nigerian children with sickle cell disease. Study design: A case-control study carried out on children with HbSS genotype (cases) and age-matched controls with HbAA. Serum magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and albumin were measured using colorimetric methods. Results: Eighty-six subjects and forty-five controls were studied. The mean serum magnesium was 0.99mmol/L (0.02) and 0.98mmol/L (0.02) in the cases and controls respectively. The difference was not significant Mean serum calcium was significantly lower in the cases [2.1mmol/L (0.3)] compared with the controls [2.3mmol/L (0.15)]; p<0.01. Serum phosphorus was significantly higher in the cases than in the controls [2.2mmol/L (0.7) versus (1.5mmol/L (0.6); p<0.001]. There was no statistical difference in the albumin binding of calcium in both groups. A positive correlation existed between serum phosphorus and magnesium and also between serum calcium and magnesium in the cases group but no correlation between these parameters and age was found. Conclusion: Children with sickle cell anaemia in this study had normo-magnesaemia, hyperphosphataemia and hypocalcaemia. Further studies on changes in intracellular concentrations of these ions in children with sickle cell disease are required. Such findings could be useful in designing better management in individuals with this abnormality.
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