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Sickle Cell Disease Treatment at BMC

Sickle Cell Disease Treatment at BMC

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a chronic, genetic blood disorder which causes painful attacks that can be especially difficult for kids in their childhood and teenage years. Pediatric physicians at BMC are working hard to ensure that these patients get the proper and personalized care they need to live as normal a life as they can.

Red blood cells carry oxygen through our bodies. Someone with SCD does not have enough of these cells to carry an adequate amount of oxygen. And, the red blood cells that are in their bodies are rigid and sticky, causing them to get stuck during blood flow. This causes lots of pain. Symptoms can include fatigue, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, paleness or jaundice (skin looks yellow), swelling in the hands and feet, pain, and serious infections. In severe cases, sickle cell anemia can lead to organ damage, delayed growth, vision problems, and strokes.

“There’s not a lot of fancy technology to help patients with SCD, but providing very thorough care is what keeps kids out of the hospital,” says Amy Sobota, MD, MPH, a pediatric hematologist who works with patients with SCD. “We are a team offering coordinated care for a small group of complex patients. We’re able to do that very successfully.”

The SCD team at BMC includes two doctors and a nurse who are also able to see patients for urgent care issues so they can avoid the Emergency Department whenever possible. The team also works closely with a dedicated social worker, who can address non-medical issues, a psychologist to help patients cope with having a chronic disease and a patient navigator to help guide patients through their care. Together, they currently serve more than 200 patients from newborns to 22 year olds.

For more information, please visit the website for BMC’s Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Program or call 617.414.4841 to schedule an appointment.