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The formation of deoxyhemoglobin S (deoxy-Hb S) polymers is the key triggering event for the complex pathophysiologic manifestations of sickle cell anemia (SCA). This polymer formation is associated with a marked right-shifted oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve (decreased affinity, increased P50), which results in a decrease in arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2. There is a delay period ("delay time") from the formation of deoxy-Hb S to polymerization that is markedly sensitive (to the power of 30-40) to the concentration and solubility changes of deoxy-Hb S. Deoxy-Hb S polymer formation leads to sickle cell vaso-occlusion, a unique characteristic of SCA. This theoretical study, which views SCA as a disease of oxygen transport, provides a novel framework to suggest that a small to modest increase in cardiac index (by decreasing the P50 and thus increasing the SaO2) could change the distribution of the delay times (sec) such that the balance between occlusion and opening of microcirculatory vessels is shifted favoring the opening of these vessels, therefore disfavoring vaso-occlusion. Our approach integrates a mathematical model of oxygen transport in SCA with: (1) the expression relating the solubility of deoxy-Hb S to SaO2, and (2) the kinetic expression relating the delay time to the solubility of deoxy-Hb S.