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Sickle Cell Crisis (cont.)

Sickle Cell Disease Treatment at Home

Even tiny changes in the red blood cells can begin a cascade of symptoms leading to a sickle cell crisis. Therefore, home care, even when a person is careful about drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding infection, is difficult. The best home care is understanding the illness and knowing when and where to seek immediate medical care.

Sickle Cell Treatment with Medications

Sickle cell pain crisis

  • Pain medications, often narcotics, will be given.
  • IV fluids are an important part of therapy.
  • Infection: If the physician diagnoses or suspects a bacterial infection, antibiotics are prescribed.
  • Anemia: If there is a significant decrease in the red blood cell count, a red blood cell transfusion may be needed.
  • Hydroxyurea may be used to increase the amount of Hgb F and decrease the amount of Hgb S, which can decrease the long-term risks of sickle cell crises.

Other Therapy for Sickle Cell Disease

Chronic therapy: New developments in regularly scheduled transfusion therapy have shown promise in decreasing the following:

  • Symptoms of acute chest syndrome
  • Incidence of stroke
  • Severity of pain crises
  • Bone marrow transplantation holds promise for a very small percentage of people with sickle cell disease. Discuss this with the physician.

Sickle Cell Disease Follow-up

Considering the many body systems involved and the likelihood that sickle cell crisis will occur time and time again, strong consideration should be given to follow-up with a hematologist (a physician with a specialty in treating blood disorders).

Most uncomplicated cases of sickle cell crisis can be treated in community emergency departments. People with this condition can be safely sent home when their pain is under control and their dehydration is eliminated. A short observational period in the emergency department helps to prevent acute relapse and admission for pain and rehydration.

Outpatient treatmentcenterson the control of infection, reduction of pain, and prevention of dehydration. The use of narcotics is often necessary and should not be limited for fear of turning someone with sickle cell disease into a drug addict.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/11/2014
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Sickle Cell Anemia »

Sickle cell disease (SCD) and its variants are genetic disorders of mutant hemoglobins (Hb).

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