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Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder in which red blood cells can become stiff, sticky and often shaped like the letter C. Normal red blood cells are smooth and flexible, like the letter O, and can move easily through blood vessels. But sickle cells tend to cluster together. These clusters can create blockages in your child's small blood vessels, stopping the movement of healthy, oxygen-carrying blood. These blockages can lead to sudden pain anywhere in the body, as well as damage to the body tissues and organs over time. The altered structure of the red blood cell also causes it to break down more rapidly, leading to a chronically low blood count, or anemia.
Sickle cell disease primarily affects children of African descent and Hispanics of Caribbean ancestry. It also occurs in children of Middle-Eastern and Indian descent.
Sickle cell disease treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's
Dana-Farber/Boston Children's is an international leader in improving treatment and quality of life for children with sickle cell disease. Our Sickle Cell Disease Program provides children with sickle cell disease access to world-renown pediatric hematologists, top-rated nursing care, and the latest treatment options including hydroxyurea and stem cell transplantation.
The Dana-Farber/Boston Children's website provides in-depth information on sickle cell disease, including:
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”