Sickle cell disease Acute chest syndrome (1565)

Key points below

What is acute chest syndrome?     Sickle cell and normal cell

Acute chest syndrome occurs when the red blood cells sickle and stick together in the lungs. This does not let enough blood and oxygen get to the lungs. This can cause tissue damage. Acute chest syndrome may be triggered by a lung infection such as pneumonia.  It may also be caused by asthma that is not controlled.  It can occur before, during or after a sickle cell pain episode.

What are the symptoms? 

There may be one or more of these symptoms:

If any of these symptoms occur go to the Emergency room within one hour.

What happens in the hospital?


Call the doctor, nurse, or the Sickle Cell Center if you have any concerns or if there are special health care needs not covered by this information.

  • Sickle Cell Center: (414) 266-2420, Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM. Ask to talk with a nurse.  
  • After hours, weekends or holidays, call (414) 266-2000 and ask for the hematologist on call.