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Can a child with sickle cell disease (Hgb SS) be treated without a blood transfusion?

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My grandson has Sickle Cell Disease (Hgb SS) can he be treated without blood transfusions? Before his first birthday he had had over 14 transfusions. Now that he is almost 4 he is asking why he has to have this done so much. His parents are so upset and has asked for my help. Any information would be helpful.
asked Mar 19, 2013 in Conditions and Treatments by anonymous

1 Answer

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I'm sorry for your grandson.

 

 

 

Sickle cell anemia has no widely available cure. However, treatments can help relieve symptoms and treat complications. The goals of treating sickle cell anemia are to relieve pain; prevent infections, organ damage, and strokes; and control complications (if they occur).

Infants who have been diagnosed with sickle cell anemia through newborn screening are treated with antibiotics to prevent infections and receive needed vaccinations. Their parents are educated about the disease and how to manage it. These initial treatment steps have greatly improved the outcome for children who have sickle cell anemia.

They can benefit in addition to conventional therapy,  from some of patient blood management techniques.

Patients with sickle cell disease have been shown to benefit from rHuEPO ( recombinant human erythropoietin ) therapy. In the course of disease, they suffer hemolysis and  painful crises. The underlying defect is the presence of the abnormal sickle hemoglobin. If patients are given rHuEPO, the level of fatal hemoglobin increases and the amount of sickle hemoglobin decreases. This improves the condition of the patients.

They should be monitored closely for vitamin B12 deficiency, since the hyperhomosysteinemia associated with this condition may worsen sickle cell disease. Hyperhomocysteinemia is a risk factor for endothelial damage contributing to sickle cell vaso-occlusive disease.
answered Mar 20, 2013 by Hatice Simsek MD (3,070 points)

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