Sickle Cell Disease Program

Sickle Cell Disease Program

Pediatric Sickle Cell Disease Care

Personalized care for children and teens

At NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, we provide pediatric sickle cell disease care from birth to age 21. Patients are treated by a multidisciplinary team of pediatric hematologists, inpatient hospitalists, nurse practitioners and nurses, coordinators, social workers, child life specialists, occupational and physical therapists, and a clinical psychologist who works closely with patients with sickle cell disease and their families. Our team helps patients live their best lives possible despite a diagnosis of sickle cell disease. 

Each member of the team gets to know you and your family well so that each time you come to us, you see the same familiar faces and feel at home. Since sickle cell disease can affect the entire body, you will also have access to pediatric specialists at NewYork-Presbyterian from every discipline who are experienced in treating complications of the disease. We educate patients, families, and communities about sickle cell disease, sickle cell trait, and other hemoglobin disorders such as thalassemia.

Advanced facilities

We provide a range of services to monitor sickle cell disease and treat its complications in young patients, including:

  • State-of-the-art laboratory with experienced technologists
  • Outpatient care through our clinics
  • Inpatient care featuring 24/7 hospitalist coverage (doctors who always work in the hospital) and close collaboration with pain management specialists 
  • An intensive care unit for children, staffed by pediatric critical care physicians
  • A modern and comfortable infusion center for scheduled blood transfusions and fluid replacement, with convenient Saturday hours — no need to miss school 
  • Emergency room care including a dedicated pediatric ER. Children experiencing pain crises are quickly triaged and begin receiving care to relieve discomfort
  • An excellent blood bank that serves as a resource for transfusions

Medical treatments for sickle cell disease

Our doctors offer hydroxyurea treatment for patients with sickle cell disease as young as 9 months of age. If possible, we prefer to start this therapy before the first sickle cell episode has occurred, with most patients receiving their first dose of medication before age 2. Blood transfusions with healthy, non-sickled blood cells can be used to help relieve symptoms and lower the risk of stroke in high-risk patients. In recent years, new drugs for sickle cell disease have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), such as: 

  • Voxelotor (Oxbryta®) - We use this medication to improve anemia in patients ages 4 and older. It comes in tablets that can be taken by mouth or mixed with water to make a solution that can be easier for some patients to take. It works by binding to hemoglobin at the cellular level and keeping it in a state where it maintains oxygen. This prevents red blood cells from sickling and improves anemia. 
  • Crizanlizumab (Adakveo®) - This medication is used to reduce episodes of pain. It is designed to reduce red blood cell sickling by binding to a protein called P-selectin. It is given intravenously (by vein) in our infusion center to patients age 16 and older.
  • L-glutamine (Endari®) - This medication is used to reduce pain due to sickle cell disease in children 5 years of age and older. It is a powder that is mixed with food or a beverage.

Preventing strokes

Our team follows the STOP criteria (Stroke Prevention Trial in Sickle Cell Disease) to screen pediatric patients periodically. We use transcranial Doppler ultrasound (a scan of the head using sound waves) to assess the risk of stroke, and then tailor medical therapies to reduce that risk. Chronic transfusion therapy is available on an outpatient basis.

Stem cell transplantation to cure sickle cell disease

Bone marrow transplantation works to cure sickle cell disease by replacing unhealthy blood-forming "stem" cells with healthy cells from a matched donor. The Sickle Cell Transplant Program at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital is one of the largest in the tri-state area offering stem cell transplantation. We educate and counsel our patients about stem cell transplantation and offer immunological typing to start the search for a donor. Interested patients with matched donors can receive all pre- and post-transplant care right here in Brooklyn, and undergo the transplant procedure at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley.

Transitioning to adult care

Through our alliance with NewYork-Presbyterian's Dalio Center for Health Justice — which focuses on improving the quality of and access to health care for people from all backgrounds— adolescent patients work with a "transition navigator" to prepare them for adult sickle cell disease care. The navigator identifies each patient's needs, helps them to make their own appointments, and teaches them how to advocate for their own care as adults. Joint events between our pediatric and adult care teams enable patients to start meeting their adult care providers. Patients are connected with hospital and community resources to help them stay healthy for their entire lives.

Why choose us

When you come to NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist for your child's sickle cell disease care, you benefit from the experience and resources of one of the nation's most renowned medical centers, NewYork-Presbyterian. With our team of experienced providers and our state-of-the-art facility, we can care for your child right in Brooklyn, close to home. Every specialist your child could ever need is available through the extensive NewYork-Presbyterian physician network, with all of their medical information contained in one accessible, secure electronic medical record. Through our connection to NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, you also have access to one of the nation's strongest stem cell transplantation programs for sickle cell disease, with all of your care before and after the transplant available here in Brooklyn. Call us today to make an appointment.

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