Thalassemia

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Overview

Thalassemia is a problem with red blood cells that is passed down from parents to children (genetic). It can cause anemia — low levels of red blood cells. Red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin that carries oxygen around your child’s body, dropping it off to cells that need it. The most severe form of this condition is called Cooley anemia, also known as thalassemia major.

Children who have thalassemia are treated at Seattle Children's, an SCCA parent organization. Thalassemia in children and teens is not very common, so community doctors usually have limited knowledge of the disease. This is why in the United States almost all children with thalassemia receive treatment at a center, like Seattle Children's, with special experience in children's blood disorders.

When children have  severe thalassemia, doctors sometimes consider a stem cell transplant. The hematologists at Seattle Children’s work closely with pediatric stem cell transplant specialists. When children need blood transfusions, we work closely with Puget Sound Blood Center, an internationally recognized institution, to make sure your child gets the best possible care and support.

Seattle Children's blood disorders program brings together experts from more than 20 subspecialties to provide diagnostic services and treatments, including the very latest options. Our team of pediatric hematologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, child life specialists and chaplains partner with you to provide expert, family-centered care and compassionate support. We help you understand your child's health and treatment options because we know that you, your child, and your family are an important part of the care team.

Because our doctors take part in and often lead national and international research studies, Seattle Children's can offer new treatment options that many other hospitals cannot give their patients.

Read more about thalassemia on the Seattle Children's web site. To make an appointment, call Seattle Children's at (206) 987-2106.

Read more about Thalassemia on the Seattle Children's web site.

To make an appointment, call Seattle Children's at (206) 987-2106.