Sickle cell disease is ranked as the world’s most common disorder of the blood that is passed on genetically. While it mostly affects Black Africans and Americans, it has also presented itself in those with Mediterranean, East Indian, and Latin American descent. It is estimated that roughly 8% of African-American individuals have the sickle cell gene, and that there are about 50,000 sickle cell patients in the United States alone.
Last week, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) published the first set of guidelines indicated for the efficient management of this blood disorder from a diagnosis given at birth until end-of-life. It is currently available in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This highly detailed, evidence-based set of recommendations is a product of the collaborative and exhaustive efforts of hematologic experts from all over the country. The project was co-chaired by Dr. George Buchanan – a professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, and holder of the Children’s Cancer Fund Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Oncology & Hematology.
The guidelines were compiled and written in such a way that all healthcare professionals would be able to understand and properly carry out. Dr. Buchanan, who is also a UT Southwestern Medical Center hematologist, believes that because this disease mostly affects minority populations, there is a greater need to devote more attention to it in the field of research, and raise awareness, as sickle cell disease is known to cause mortality in patients as young as 30 years old. Hence, the publication of a comprehensive set of over 500 directions for the management of sickle cell disease.
The release comes during National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. The committee will be ensuring the timely and thorough public dissemination of these new guidelines during upcoming conferences and in various medical publications.
Earlier this year, the American Thoracic Society published a set of guidelines indicated for the proper management of patients with sickle cell disease and an increased risk of developing and dying from pulmonary hypertension.