Vaso occlusive crisis

Case contributed by Dr Varun Babu


Known patient of sickle cell anaemia, presented with right thigh pain, limping gait and difference in girth of of both thighs. To rule out avascular necrosis.

Patient Data

Age: 14 years old
Gender: Male

MRI of both hips

Focal PD hyperintense area seen in the greater trochanteric epiphysis of left femur. Otherwise unremarkable study of both hips and other pelvic bones. 


MRI hips (1 year later)

Extensive STIR and PD hyperintense signals are seen involving the anterior elements of both L4 and L5 vertebral body extending to right transverse process and pedicle.

Similar signal changes identified in left iliac wing as well as in multiple region of the first and second sacral elements reaching upto the superior bony margins of both sacroiliac joints. No joint involvement per se.

Case Discussion

Vaso occlusive crisis is a clinical diagnosis. However, musculoskeletal manifestations are usually confined to appendicular skeleton, typically involving the epiphyses of the femur, tibia, humerus etc. The radiographs are usually negative.

In view of their hyposplenism and decreased complement system activity, they are more prone for secondary osteomyelitis. Unfortunately it is difficult to discern solely using MRI between infection and infarction. 

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Case information

rID: 44518
Case created: 26th Apr 2016
Last edited: 27th Apr 2016
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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