If you or a family member has sickle cell disease -- a hereditary blood disorder characterized by abnormal red blood cells that become sticky and get stuck in blood vessels -- you need a coordinated team to protect your health and prevent painful complications and health crises. Our highly-trained team of specialists ensure you receive the best care and the latest treatments and services.
Sickle Cell Disease
Duke’s comprehensive sickle cell center is committed to providing the best diagnostic tools, treatment options, and care for sickle cell disease. In addition to our extensive array of services and resources, we research new ways of treating the disease and its complications to provide you the best care.
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Comprehensive Care to Treat Sickle Cell Disease
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
In this set of videos, Duke experts talk about what happens when you have sickle cell disease -- and options for treatment.
Diagnostic and Genetic Tests
A simple blood test called hemoglobin electrophoresis can detect the presence of the abnormal hemoglobin that causes red blood cells to become shaped like sickles or crescents. The test uses an electric charge to differentiate between normal and abnormal types of hemoglobin. We also provide testing for the prenatal diagnosis of the disease, as well as testing for the ability of individuals to pass sickle cell and other blood disorders to their children.
If you have sickle cell disease, you need regular tests to determine the severity of your anemia and whether you are producing red blood cells appropriately. Your doctor will routinely assess your liver, kidney, heart, and lung function and check for pulmonary hypertension. If you receive frequent transfusions, which raise iron levels, your iron will be checked regularly. Your doctor may also do routine tests to check the effects of medications, monitor pain medications, or follow recovery after recent time in the hospital. Children with sickle cell disease -- who have a higher-than-average risk for stroke -- receive transcranial Doppler imaging, a painless test that uses ultrasound to measure blood flow in the head.
Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why we are once again recognized as the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 11 adult and 9 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2022–2023.
Expert Care for Sickle Cell Disease
A Full Range of Patient Services
We offer social services, psychological support, and genetic counseling to provide for the complex needs of patients and their families in addition to addressing all your sickle cell disease related issues.
Benefit from a Wealth of Experts
Our highly trained specialists -- including hematologists, obstetricians, neurologists, cardiologists, ophthalmologists, nephrologists, and orthopedic surgeons -- are skilled in working with sickle cell disease and have access to a full array of resources to provide you the best care.
Participate in Clinical Trials
We conduct studies supported by the National Institutes of Health and other organizations with the aim of discovering new treatments for sickle cell disease and its complications. You may be a candidate for an experimental therapy or research exploring the problems encountered by patients with sickle cell disease.
Access to Community Resources
We have cooperative ties with community sickle cell programs and also work closely with the NC Sickle Cell Syndrome Program. We can help you obtain support services such as transportation to doctor visits, and financial assistance, if needed.
A Wide Array of Educational Resources
Our support team provides up-to-date materials to help you learn more about your condition. We also sponsor workshops, training programs, lectures, and discussion groups. Our goal is to educate you about your condition and to encourage you to become active in your own care and make informed decisions about sickle cell screening and treatment.