Sickle Cell Disease

Also known as: SCD, sickle cell anemia.

What is sickle cell disease?

Sickle cell disease is a group of familial red blood cell disorders. The red blood cell carries hemoglobin, which is the protein inside red blood cells that helps the cells transport oxygen. The hemoglobin in sickle cell disease causes the red blood cells to be oddly shaped, and have difficulty flowing through the blood vessels properly which causes them to break up easily resulting in anemia. Moreover, this odd shape of the red cells cause them to get stuck in the small blood vessel and cause damage to the organs. Sickle cell anemia (SS) is the most common and severe form of sickle cell disease.

What causes sickle cell disease? 

Sickle cell disease is a genetic disorder that is passed down from parents to the children.

What are the symptoms of sickle cell disease? 

Common symptoms of sickle cell disease in children can include recurrent pain episodes, fatigue, jaundice, tiredness and pale skin. It can also cause a stroke, learning disability, acute chest, gallstones, damage to the bones.

What are sickle cell disease care options?

Sickle cell disease cannot be cured. People with the disorder receive continuous care to prevent and manage the complications of the disease. These steps might include several medications, as well as education in looking out for and managing symptoms. The only cure for Sickle Cell disease is with Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation. 

Reviewed by: Kamar Godder, MD

This page was last updated on: 5/24/2018 10:44:47 AM

Upcoming Events


Camp U.O.T.S. is an annual weeklong, overnight camp for children with cancer and blood disorders who are treated at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

Learn more and register

From the Newsdesk

Siblings of Cancer Patients enjoy a Fun Filled Day
More than two dozen children attended the Bear Hug camp at Nicklaus Children's last week. This day camp is for siblings of pediatric cancer patients to encourage socialization among peers and help them gain insight on their siblings' care journey. 
Daniella Celebrates her Ninth Birthday by Advocating for Children’s Health
On this very same day nine years ago, Daniella Alvarez was diagnosed Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (ATRT), a rare and aggressive type of brain cancer. The news came on June 26, 2009, her second birthday. Daniella endured years of brain surgeries, aggressive chemotherapies, radiation, imaging scans, multiple visits to intensive care at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. She is now cancer free thanks to a pediatric clinical trial made possible through research funding.


Dr. Toba N. Niazi, Neurosurgeon, and Dr. Ziad A. Khatib, Hematologist and Oncologist, discuss the second leading cause of cancer in children, brain tumors.