In many disease states the general physical characteristics of the patient aid the examiner in making an etiologic diagnosis. In acromegaly, cretinism or myxedema, achrondroplasia, pituitary basophilism, mongolism, adiposogenital dystrophy, rickets and many other conditions valuable information can be obtained by observation of the nude subject. Patients with longstanding active sickle cell anemia have a fairly characteristic habitus1 which may be considered typical of the disease. In several instances the diagnosis of sickle cell anemia was suspected on inspection of the nude subject by physicians familiar with the sickle cell anemia type of habitus. In these instances subsequent hanging drop preparations showing sickling and positive diagnostic parameters2 indicated the correctness of these observations.
The purpose of this paper is to point out the characteristics of the habitus of patients with sickle cell anemia of long duration and to discuss some of the factors which contribute to its production.