Blood transfusion therapy is the main treatment approach for sickle cell disease (SCD).1 It provides effective treatment for many complications by increasing hemoglobin (Hb) levels (and thus the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood) and decreasing the proportion of sickled red blood cells (RBCs) (Table).2
|Type of transfusion therapy||Indication|
SCD = sickle cell disease; TCD = transcranial Doppler.
Treatment goals include reducing the sickle Hb (HbS) concentration to < 30% of total Hb, while ensuring that total Hb does not exceed 11 g/dL (or packed cell volume of 35%), a level that may cause complications due to increased viscosity.2,3,4
The overall transfusion burden is generally less in sickle cell disease patients than in thalassemia patients, who require lifelong transfusion therapy.2,5
Historically, transfusion has been used intermittently in patients with SCD for the treatment of acute events. The overall transfusion burden is generally less in SCD patients than in thalassemia patients, who require lifelong transfusion therapy.2,5
The value of chronic transfusions in potentially reducing hospitalization rates due to vaso-occlusive crises, acute chest syndrome, infection, and stroke is increasingly recognized. In addition, as life expectancy continues to increase, more patients are likely to receive long-term transfusion therapy.6,7Learn about consequences of regular blood transfusion >
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