Treatment Options

Treatment Options

Sickle cell disease treatments relieve pain symptoms and help prevent infections, lung damage, and strokes. The only cure for sickle cell disease is bone marrow transplantation.

Treatment may be given for complications from sickle cell disease and may include antibiotics, pain medications, intravenous fluids, and blood transfusions, which help with pain management and reduces the risk of stroke and other complications.

Iron overload (having an excess of iron) is a common issue after repeated blood transfusions. Too much iron can be toxic to the body and lead to organ damage. Sickle cell disease patients often receive treatment for iron overload as well. 

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance offers the only comprehensive Adult Sickle Cell Disease clinic program in the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho region. (The nearest SCD centers are in Denver and San Francisco). Our physicians work with providers and hospital systems throughout the region

Outpatient Care

We design patient specific care plans for long term health, ER visits, and inpatient care including individualized pain management protocols, including

  • Organized and optimized transfusion support services coordinated with Puget Sound Blood Center

Inpatient Care

Inpatient care takes place at University of Washington Medical Center. Their expertise includes

  • Utilization of patient specific care plans

  • Exceptional nursing staff, pharmacists, pain consult teams, and hematologists experienced in SCD treatment

  • Access to sub-specialty care in Orthopedic Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology including Maternal Fetal Medicine, Pulmonary, Cardiology, Neurology, Vascular Surgery, and Nephrology experienced in SCD care

  • SCD-specific perioperative care plans and SCD specific transfusion protocols


Bone Marrow Transplantation for Sickle Cell Disease

  • Transplantation can be a cure for sickle cell disease.  This eliminates sickle cell pain and prevents sickle cell damage to lungs, the brain, and joints.

  • During a bone marrow transplant, abnormal blood-making cells in the bone marrow are replaced with a donor’s normal bone marrow.  

  • Transplants can have serious risks and may not be an option for everyone.

  • Transplants are safer and more successful if the donor is a “matched” brother or sister.

  • Transplant methods are improving—for example allowing the use of unrelated donors or in some cases donors who are less than perfect matches.  

  • More children and young adults with sickle cell disease are now having transplants.

Read about Transplant Questions & Answers for SCD patients and families here.



Health Maintenance for People with Sickle Cell Disease

What your healthcare provider can do to help you be healthy.