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Pediatric Sickle Cell Disease

Key Points about Sickle Cell Disease

  • Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder characterized by defective hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the tissues of the body).
  • Sickle cell (HbSS) is a genetic disease. A person will be born with sickle cell disease only if two HbS genes are inherited—one from the mother and one from the father.
  • Sickle cell disease primarily affects those of African descent and Hispanics of Caribbean ancestry, but the trait has also been found in those with Middle Eastern, Indian, Latin American, American Indian and Mediterranean heritage.
  • Symptoms may include anemia, pain crisis or sickle crisis, acute chest syndrome, splenic sequestration (pooling), stroke, jaundice and priapism.
  • Specific treatment for sickle cell disease and its complications will be determined by your child's doctor based on:
    • Your child's age, overall health and medical history
    • Extent of the disease
    • Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
    • Expectations for the course of the disease
  • What is sickle cell disease?
  • Who is affected by sickle cell disease?
  • What causes sickle cell disease?
  • What are the symptoms of sickle cell disease?
  • How is sickle cell disease diagnosed?
  • What are the treatments for sickle cell disease?
  • How is sickle cell disease managed?
Children's Team

Children's Team

Providers

Jessica Carpenter

Jessica Carpenter

Director, Neurocritical Care
Director, Neonatal and Childhood Stroke Program
Neurologist
Priya Vaidyanathan

Priya Vaidyanathan

Director, Thyroid Nodule and Cancer Program
Co-Program Director, Endocrinology Fellowship
Our Stories

Our Stories

Ashley with brother.

What Inspires Me: Ashley's Story

"I have spent much of my life explaining to teachers, classmates, friends and employers the implications sickle cell disease has on my big brother." Learn how Ashley’s experience with sickle cell disease led her to pursue a career in medicine.


Deborah Owens

Deborah Owens' Story

"His future depended on the transplant, and I knew I had to do something to help," school nurse Deborah Owens, LPN, says. Learn how Owens went on to educate a community and save one child's life through bone marrow transplantation.

Bone marrow transplant patient with his mother.

Bryce's Story

A young boy is cured from sickle cell disease due to a groundbreaking clinical trial at Children's National.

Paul Williams graduating

Paul's Story

Almost 18 years ago, Audrey and Paul Sr. were living in Maryland awaiting their son’s arrival into the world. In preparation, they did all the research that expecting parents do, including looking for the best pediatrician and comparing car seats. In addition to this routine research, they also looked for the best sickle cell disease programs within the area. Since both of his parents had sickle cell trait, there was a one in four chance that their son would have sickle cell disease.

Jozlyn's Story

Jozlyn's Story

Jozlyn was born with sickle cell disease and couldn't participate in many activities, but three years ago, she had a bone marrow transplant, and is now back at school and is a cheerleader.

Departments

Departments

Anesthesiology, Pain and Perioperative Medicine

Children’s National is the only hospital in the Washington, D.C., area that guarantees a pediatric anesthesiologist administers anesthesia for all patients at any time of the day and through the night, 24/7.

Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Program
The Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Program at Children’s National is among the largest and most comprehensive pediatric sickle cell disease programs in the country.
Sickle Cell Pulmonary Clinic

Children's National has one the largest and most active pediatric sickle cell programs in the country.

Pain Medicine Care Complex

The Sheikh Zayed Institute’s Pain Medicine Care Complex is one of only a few programs in the country focused exclusively on managing pain for infants, children, and teens. When children are unable to express their pain in words, our pediatric specialists have the unique insight to help.

Pre-Operative Care Clinic

When your child is having surgery at Children’s National Health System, the Pre-Operative Care Clinic’s (POCC) team of pediatric professionals screens patients for surgery and creates a specific care plan for each patient.

Blood Disorders (Hematology)

From sickle cell disease to histiocyte disorders, Children’s National delivers expert care for any blood disorder diagnosis.

Blood and Marrow Transplant

Our blood and bone marrow disease experts provide advanced transplant procedures for children and teenagers.

Bone Health Program

Orthopaedists at Children’s National offer world-renowned expertise and life-changing care, including surgery, for children at high risk for bone fracture.

9th Annual Family Education Symposium

Little Girl Smiling in Exam Room

The Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Program at Children’s National invites you to learn more about recent breakthroughs that help families manage sickle cell disease while living life to the fullest.

Living Well With Sickle Cell

Jozlyn's Story

Jozlyn's Story

Jozlyn was born with sickle cell disease and couldn't participate in many activities, but three years ago, she had a bone marrow transplant, and is now back at school and is a cheerleader.

Read More of Jozlyn's Story