Northern Virginia Comprehensive Pediatric Sickle Cell Program
What is Sickle Cell Disease?
Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Healthy red blood cells are round, flexible, and move easily through blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. In sickle cell disease, the blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a c-shaped farm tool called a sickle. Sickle cells break down easily, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. Because the c-shaped cells are rigid, when sickle cells travel through small vessels, sickle cells get stuck and clog the blood flow, keeping blood and oxygen from reaching parts of the body. This can cause pain, as well as chronic damage to organs of the body. Sickle cell disease is a serious condition that can be detrimental to daily and long-term health. Fortunately, with modern medical treatments, many complications can be prevented, and children are thriving!
Children with sickle cell disease are at an increased risk of health complications, making early detection and treatment very important. Research and clinical experience have shown that children cared for in a comprehensive sickle cell center have fewer complications and better quality of life. Our patients are monitored regularly in clinic.
From your first clinic visit, you will work with our team of professionals who are committed to supporting your family's medical and psychosocial needs. As a team, we focus on health maintenance strategies, including:
- Teaching preventive therapies that may help your child avoid symptoms
- Understanding how to recognize the early signs of complications
- Screening for risks of complications
Sickle Cell Program
Specialists in the Sickle Cell Disease Program at Pediatric Specialists of Virginia's Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders provide diagnosis, treatment, and long-term health management for children and young adults with all types of sickle cell disease.
Pediatric Specialists of Virginia is the Virginia Department of Health-designated Pediatric Comprehensive Sickle Cell Program for Northern Virginia. Staffed by pediatric hematologists (doctors who treat blood disorders), nurse practitioners, nurse coordinators, social workers, psychologist, and others, this multidisciplinary team will deliver highly specialized care to your child. Our program also includes:
- Hydroxyurea therapy
- Coordination of curative therapies
- Involvement in clinical research
- Dedicated coordination for patients transitioning to adult sickle cell providers
Learn more about sickle cell disease by downloading PSV's Sickle Cell Disease: New Diagnosis Handbook.