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Papers of the Week

2022 Feb

J Hematol



Leukoerythroblastosis in a Sickle Cell Patient With Pregnancy: An Interesting Peripheral Blood Smear Finding.


Mitra A, Datta Mitra A, Patel G, Dwyre DM, Graff JP
J Hematol. 2022 Feb; 11(1):15-20.
PMID: 35356637.


The global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has shaken the entire world. The social, health and financial impacts of this pandemic are beyond words. We have learnt a lot about this new disease in a short period of time, but still a long road to go to fully determine its pathogenic effect. The primary target of this virus is angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, which is prevalent in endothelial cells throughout the body. Immunocompromised patients such as patients with sickle cell disease are more vulnerable to severe respiratory infections, including infection with SARS-CoV-2. In addition, sickle cell disease patients are prone to vaso-occlusive crisis, and theoretically SARS-CoV-2 can worsen the situation as it also can cause endothelial dysfunction and thrombosis. Herein, we are sharing an interesting peripheral blood smear finding of an asymptomatic 31-year-old multigravida pregnant female with a history of sickle cell disease and found to have a positive COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test during her third trimester of pregnancy at a routine clinic visit. Two weeks after the initial positive test, she developed nausea, vomiting, constipation and a pain crisis affecting her extremities while her COVID-19 PCR test was still positive. She was hemodynamically stable, and lab workup revealed chronic anemia, leukocytosis with neutrophilia and lymphopenia. Morphologic examination of the peripheral blood smear showed a marked leukoerythroblastosis: rare myeloblasts, sickle cells, markedly abundant nucleated red blood cells (RBCs), metamyelocytes, and many large and giant platelets were seen. In this context, her previous peripheral blood smears (prior to positive COVID-19 test) did not show leukoerythroblastosis. She was managed conservatively with hydration and pain control and delivered at 36 weeks via cesarean section due to pre-term labor and intrauterine growth retardation. The unusual finding of leukoerythroblastosis in a pregnant sickle cell disease patient with an asymptomatic COVID-19 infection indicates further studies to determine its effect on hematopoietic system and elucidate its clinical significance.