Pediatric Sickle Cell Program at Phoenix Children's Hospital
The best care for patients with blood disorders
The Pediatric Sickle Cell Program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital is part of the largest pediatric hematology program in the state. Our Hematology Program is unrivaled, offering top hematology specialists and opportunities to participate in cutting-edge clinical trials available in Arizona, only at Phoenix Children’s. We pride ourselves on making a significant difference in the quality of life for our patients.
Sickle cell disease is a hemoglobinopathy, which is a hereditary condition involving an abnormality in the structure of hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the tissues of the body). Normal hemoglobin cells are smooth, round, and flexible, like the letter "O," so they can move through the vessels in our bodies easily. Sickle cell hemoglobin cells are stiff and sticky, and form into the shape of a sickle, or the letter "C," when they lose their oxygen. These sickle cells tend to cluster together, and cannot easily move through the blood vessels. The cluster causes a blockage in small arteries or capillaries and stops the movement of healthy, normal oxygen-carrying blood. This blockage is what causes the painful and damaging complications of sickle cell disease. Symptoms include anemia, which makes kids tired and pale; acute chest syndrome, which can include fever, pain, and a violent cough; stroke, jaundice, pain (most often in the chest, arms, or legs, but can also occur in the penis), and painful swelling in the fingers and toes of children younger than age three.
Sickle cell disease primarily affects those of African descent and Hispanics of Caribbean ancestry, but the trait has also been found in those with Middle Eastern, Indian, Latin American, American Indian, and Mediterranean heritage.
Why Choose Phoenix Children's Hospital
As part of the largest pediatric hematology program in Arizona, we offer a comprehensive Sickle Cell Clinic—with a dedicated pain team specialist, social worker, and nurse—for both inpatient and outpatient. The Clinic is the fastest growing one of its kind in Arizona, with access to the best and newest pharmaceuticals, and our active participation in research and clinical trials helps our team determine the best possible treatment for each patient. Word of our success is spreading, and many of our new patients are coming to us from out of state.
All of the Hospital’s pediatricians are fellowship-trained; our physician, Dr. Eshun, is dedicated mostly to sickle cell; all team members within the hospital, the outpatient clinic, and critical care, have a knowledge base of sickle cell disease; and if complications arise with a patient, we have a full set of services at our disposal, including pediatric radiology. Patients and their families feel safe here because of the exhaustive measures we take.
Treating Children and Educating Families
With all our pediatric patients, an emphasis is placed on teaching family members how to cope with the diagnosis and what to expect moving forward. The goal is for parents to teach their child how to be an advocate for themselves and eventually take over their own care.
We also help with insurance needs, how to plan for ongoing treatment, and champion the importance of going to school, getting a good job, and receiving good health insurance.