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Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a serious disease in which the body makes an altered form of hemoglobin. This genetic alteration causes the body to produce abnormal sickle- or crescent-shaped red blood cells. Unlike normal red cells that pass smoothly through the blood vessels, sickle cells are stiff and sticky and tend to form clumps that get stuck in the blood vessels and obstruct blood flow. The result is episodes of extreme pain (“crises”), as well as chronic damage to vital organs. SCD is an inherited disease. People who have the disease inherit two copies of the sickle cell gene— one from each parent. If a person inherits only one copy of the sickle cell gene (from one parent), he or she will have sickle cell trait. Sickle cell trait is different from SCD. People who have sickle cell trait do not have the disease, but they have one of the genes that cause it.

Sickle cell disease is common in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Premarital Screening Program estimated the prevalence of the sickle cell gene in the adult population at 4.2% for sickle-cell trait and 0.26% for SCD, with the highest prevalence noted in the Eastern province and namely in Al-AHSA region (approximately 17% for sickle-cell trait and 1.2% for SCD).

Sickle cell disease program ensure a comprehensive and multidisciplinary care intervention for patients with SCD. The different specialties work together to meet the immediate and long term challenges of SCD patients. There are combined clinics providing interdisciplinary patient care with physicians from a variety of services including, Hematology (Adult/ Pediatric) , Other Internal Medicine subspecialties ( Gastroenterology, Pulmonary, nephrology, ICU….), Pediatric subspecialties, orthopedic surgery , Obstetrics, General surgery, Laboratory, Radiology and Anesthesia.

Sickle cell program services:

• Hematology service: Leader the management of SCD patients.
• Laboratory: Blood transfusions , RBC exchange.
• Orthopedic surgery: Treatment of Avascular necrosis ( AVN) by experts in this field.
• General Surgery: highly experienced in laparoscopic splenectomy.
• Obstetrics: Pregnancy program for SCD and reproductive counseling.
• Anesthesia: Well established pain management team.
• Social and psychological supports for SCD patients.
• Vaccinations program for SCD patients.

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