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Sickle Cell Program

Hematologists at Dell Children’s Blood and Cancer Center at Ascension Seton provide care for children with sickle cell disease and blood disorders.

Child with sickle cell disease smiling.

Pediatric sickle cell program at Dell Children's

If your child has been diagnosed with sickle cell disease your child needs specialized care to help manage the condition and symptoms. Specialists at the comprehensive pediatric sickle cell program at Dell Children’s Blood and Cancer Center at Ascension Seton in Austin, Texas, have the expertise to diagnose and treat babies, children and teens with blood disorders. And when you choose Dell Children’s for your child’s care, your family will have a multispecialty care team that includes hematologists, pulmonologists, vascular specialists, genetic counselors, social workers, researchers and child life specialists. Your family’s dedicated care team works together to deliver care that’s right for your child. Only in Austin. Only at Dell Children’s.

Specialized care for sickle cell disease

Preventive care, therapies and medications can help manage your child’s symptoms. That’s why we monitor your child’s overall health, including heart, lung, and eye health as well as bone and joint health. Sharing experiences can help families cope and understand what to expect. Through our comprehensive sickle cell program, your family will find all the care you need in one place, including:

  • Comprehensive annual evaluations
  • Blood transfusions 
  • Apheresis (withdrawing and filtering blood)
  • Brain studies using transcranial Doppler ultrasound
  • Behavioral health experts to help your child learn coping skills
  • Education about disease and advanced pain management
  • Medication therapy, such as hydroxyurea therapy
  • Support services and school liaison
  • Participation in pre-clinical, translational and clinical research studies
  • Pediatric to adult transition education and planning

Diagnosing and treating sickle cell disease

Sickle cell disease causes blood cells to clump together, which can block blood vessels and lead to other problems. So your child’s doctor and care teams monitor your child’s health closely to make sure their heart, lungs and other organs are getting enough oxygen. Sickle cell disease can also cause damage to the spleen, which can put children at a higher risk for infections. Most children with sickle cell disease start having symptoms between 5 months and 1 year of age. Symptoms may include:

  • Acute chest syndrome (chest pain, cough, fever)
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice or yellowing of the skin
  • Pain crisis, which means pain caused by cells getting stuck in blood vessels
  • Swelling of hands and feet

Although sickle cell disease can lead to other health concerns, your child’s care team can help manage the condition with personalized care. Our team of specialists start by listening to you and your child. Then, we work with you to create a care plan that’s right for your child and your family.

Sickle Cell Program