Care Options for Sickle Cell Patients

Sickle cell disease is the most common blood disorder in the world. It changes red blood cells in the body from round and flexible to stiff, sticky and sickle-shaped. This can cause the cells to get stuck and jam up, causing swelling, pain and other complications.

Eight-year-old Zyann was diagnosed with sickle cell disease as a baby. Her symptoms began when she was just two months old. Her mother, Jerri Hooks, noticed that she was cranky, wasn’t eating normally and had swelling in her hands. Zyann was hospitalized numerous times and began using a medication to help with symptoms.

Now, her symptoms have improved but her mother still has to monitor her symptoms closely. “I check her temperature, see how she’s eating, taking her water — just watching her daily activities. If she doesn’t do anything that she normally does or if she’s sluggish with it,” said Ms. Hooks.

Zyann receives care at the pediatric sickle cell clinic at ProMedica Ebeid Children’s Hospital. In 2019, an adult sickle cell clinic was introduced at the hospital to advance care for patients, especially as they transition into adulthood.

Crawford Strunk, MD, pediatric hematologist/oncologist, explains, “There’s a period from the ages of about 16-25 as patients are transitioning from pediatric care to adult care, that leaves them at a much higher risk for morbidity and mortality related disease. There’s a much higher incidence of death in that age group than there is at either side of that age group.”

One reason is because there are so few doctors who specialize in sickle cell disease, and many are focused on pediatric patients. The new clinic will help Zyann and other patients get the care they need during these critical ages.

Learn more about Zyann’s story and sickle cell disease care at ProMedica in the video below.