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Condition

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

Appointments

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is sickle cell disease?

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Sickle Cell Disease Treatment at Children's National Hospital

From dedicated pain clinics for older children to specialized infant sickle cell care, Children’s National delivers care and support to provide a sense of well-being and normalcy to children with sickle cell disease and their families. Discover more about the treatments we offer.

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150 Years Stronger Patient Story Demier

Transplant Lets Demier Be a Kid

Demier was born with sickle cell disease and received a stem cell transplant from Allistair Abraham, M.D., when he was 3. He is now fully recovered and able to do things he couldn't do before such as, playing football, running and swimming in the pool.

150 Years Stronger Patient Story Demier
 Kendric, a 12-year-old boy from the Washington, D.C., area, is the first patient in the world with sickle cell disease to begin a gene therapy that may cure his condition

First Ever Sickle Cell Gene Therapy

On May 6, 2024, at Children's National, 12 year-old Kendric received the world's first gene therapy treatment for sickle cell disease. Approved in December 2023 by the FDA, these treatments are created by collecting and editing the patient's own blood cells and reintroducing them to the body. (The New York Times, account required)

 Kendric, a 12-year-old boy from the Washington, D.C., area, is the first patient in the world with sickle cell disease to begin a gene therapy that may cure his condition

Providers Who Treat Sickle Cell Disease

Departments that Treat Sickle Cell Disease

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Anesthesiology, Pain and Perioperative Medicine

Children's National is the only hospital in the Washington, D.C., area that guarantees that your child will be cared for by an anesthesiologist trained in administering anesthesia specifically to children.

Sickle Cell Pulmonary Clinic

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

Neuropsychology

Children's National Hospital has some of the world's foremost experts in care for children with complex neurodevelopmental disorders affecting the brain and central nervous system.