Sickle cell disease is a hereditary, lifelong, chronic disease. Our team of specialists — recognized as among the best in the country — focuses not only on treating complications when they arise, but also on helping patients prevent those complications from ever occurring. In many cases, treatment can mean caring for multiple issues, so we make it our priority to address all aspects of a patient’s illness in one place.

The Sickle Cell Program at Phoenix Children’s is part of the largest pediatric hematology program in the state. This program is unrivaled, offering our patients access to top hematology specialists. Here, every patient with sickle cell disease has a team dedicated just to their needs, so families always know where to go with questions. Each patient’s team includes a:

  • Doctor
  • Pediatric nurse
  • Social worker

All of our doctors, nurses, Child Life specialists, social workers, nutritionists, pain management specialists and therapists work with families to help them understand the diagnosis, treatments and care needed at home and throughout a patient’s life.

What is sickle cell disease?

This is a disorder passed down through families in which there is abnormal production or structure of the hemoglobin molecule. The medical term for this is hemoglobinopathy. Symptoms can include anemia, acute chest syndrome, stroke, jaundice, pain and painful swelling in the fingers and toes of children younger than 3-year-old. 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.