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Transitioning Care for Adult Patients With Sickle Cell Anemia

Insights From:Thomas D. Coates, MD
Published: Wednesday, Oct 28, 2015

 
The vast majority of clinicians who are familiar with sickle cell anemia are pediatricians, leading to substantial transitions of care concerns in adult patients, states Thomas D. Coates, MD. As a result, there are few experts to which pediatricians can refer their patients once they reach adulthood.

The lack of expertise among clinicians who treat adults means that children with sickle cell anemia need to be taught how to manage their own disease. However, complications can occur, and many patients ultimately seek care in the emergency department. As a result, explains Coates, adult patients may receive suboptimal care that increases their risk of mortality.

Although a minority of patients have access to the procedure, bone marrow transplantation is curative in sickle cell disease. One recent advancement on the horizon is gene therapy, adds Coates, which involves autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation with corrected genes.

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The vast majority of clinicians who are familiar with sickle cell anemia are pediatricians, leading to substantial transitions of care concerns in adult patients, states Thomas D. Coates, MD. As a result, there are few experts to which pediatricians can refer their patients once they reach adulthood.

The lack of expertise among clinicians who treat adults means that children with sickle cell anemia need to be taught how to manage their own disease. However, complications can occur, and many patients ultimately seek care in the emergency department. As a result, explains Coates, adult patients may receive suboptimal care that increases their risk of mortality.

Although a minority of patients have access to the procedure, bone marrow transplantation is curative in sickle cell disease. One recent advancement on the horizon is gene therapy, adds Coates, which involves autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation with corrected genes.

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