Complications of SCD: Organ Damage

At a glance

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited blood disorders associated with severe pain and complications that can affect the entire body. This page provides information on SCD and organ damage.

Human internal organs 3D illustration


People with SCD are at greater risk than the general population for problems related to the heart, lung, kidney, and other organs because not enough blood and oxygen is reaching the organs. SCD can lead to multiorgan failure, a life-threatening complication that occurs when multiple organs in the body are not functioning properly due to a lack of blood flow reaching the organs.


Symptoms can be different depending on the organ(s) affected but some symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Swelling in the hands and feet
  • Yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)