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Sickle Cell Anemia

Marian Anderson Comprehensive Sickle Cell Care and Research Center

The Marian Anderson Comprehensive Sickle Cell Care and Research Center was established at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in 1991 to provide children with medical care, psychological, and social services. The Center coordinates acute care, routine follow-up care, and treatment with the anti-sickling medication hydroxyurea. Additionally, referrals for curative bone marrow transplantation, as well as genetic counseling, patient and family education, and counseling are offered. School and vocational assistance for children of all ages with sickle cell disease are also available.

The Center is one of three regional referral centers licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to treat newborns diagnosed with hemoglobinopathies. It also serves as a regional referral center for the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. Active collaborations exist with clinical and research programs at Thomas Jefferson University, Temple University, A.I. duPont Children’s Hospital, Albert Einstein Medical Center, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Services through the Marian Anderson Comprehensive Sickle Cell Care and Research Center include:

  • Maintenance Care: We provide maintenance and emergency care to more than 400 patients with sickle cell disease. Patients are routinely seen in the clinic five days a week by a designated team of providers. In case of an emergency, patients can be seen in our clinic on the same day or referred to the Emergency Department at St. Christopher’s. Results of evaluation are communicated by ER physicians with the hematologist on call, and based on the condition of the patient can be treated in the ER or discharged home with subsequent follow up in our clinic.
  • Continuity of Care: Patients requiring inpatient care are admitted through hematology and are followed by one of our hematology attending physicians. A dedicated RN also provides additional patient education and coordinates care following discharge.
  • Transfusion Program: Patients with sickle cell disease who have a high risk or history of stroke, splenic sequestration, or pulmonary hypertension require chronic PRBC transfusions. Our transfusion program uses an individualized approach and provides regular PRBC transfusions or PRBC exchange transfusions (pheresis) based on patient need.   A dedicated RN helps to coordinate appointments to minimize the number of outpatient visits.

Sickle Cell/Pulmonology Clinic

If a child has pulmonary problems, it could exacerbate sickle cell complications; therefore, we have a twice a month combined pulmonology-sickle cell clinic. During this clinic, patients with sickle cell disease are seen by a hematology provider and a pulmonologist.  Also incorporated into one visit are pulmonary function tests and routine laboratory studies.

Hydroxyurea Program

Hydroxyurea is the only medication proven to modify the course of sickle cell disease and prevent many of serious complications. Research studies have demonstrated the safety of hydroxyurea therapy for young children and infants with sickle cell disease. The goal of our Hydroxyurea Program is to educate our families about hydroxyurea, coordinate a dose adjustment schedule, laboratory monitoring, and provide necessary support.

Transition Program

During the transition period we ensure that our teens are familiar with their disease and treatment plan. Our social worker will help families to connect with support services, including career development, vocational rehabilitation, and life skills development. We provide them with the opportunity to meet adult providers in order to learn about and compare different sickle cell centers in and around Philadelphia. 

Parent Support Program

Our parent support group meets monthly to discuss current issues and advocacy effort. Our staff members regularly meet with the families and provide education. Annually we offer support for parents to attend regional sickle cell education events.

For More Information

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (215) 427-5096 or (215) 427-5336. 

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