Sickle Cell

Sickle Cell Diagnoses and Treatment Options

Diagnoses and Treatment Options

At UT Southwestern Medical Center, our physicians will perform a complete medical history and physical examination, as well as diagnostic procedures that may include blood tests and other evaluation procedures. Early diagnosis is essential in providing proper preventive treatment for some of the complications of sickle cell disease. Texas is one of many states that require routine newborn screening blood tests in order to begin proper treatment as soon as possible.

Treatments

UT Southwestern is a leader in researching and understanding more about sickle cell disease and other genetic disorders. We use a multidisciplinary approach in diagnosing and treating sickle cell diseases, so treatment is individualized for your unique needs.

Treatment varies by age, extent of the disease, and your tolerance for medications, procedures, and therapies.

In general, treatments include:

  • Blood transfusions: For anemia and to prevent stroke; also used to treat chronic pain, acute chest syndrome, splenic sequestration, and other emergencies
  • Bone marrow transplant: For the possible cure of sickle cell disease; based on the severity of the disease and the ability to find a suitable bone marrow donor
  • Drinking 8 - 10 glasses of water daily or receiving IV fluids: To prevent and treat pain crises
  • Folic acid: To help prevent severe anemia
  • Hydroxyurea: A new medication developed to help reduce the frequency of pain crises and acute chest syndrome; may also decrease the need for frequent blood transfusions; unknown long-term effects
  • Pain medications: For sickle cell crises
  • Penicillin: To prevent infections