Sickle cell disease: acute complications and management
Friday, November 4, 2011
Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disorder resulting in the sickling of red blood cells (RBC) when exposed to certain conditions. Historically, sickle cell care has been poor and often delayed, but in recent years, several key publications have helped provide guidance and uniformity on how to manage acute crises, ensuring all patients receive a high level of care. The sickling of RBC can lead to acute complications, some of which are potentially life-threatening. The sickling can occur anywhere in the body, producing a wide array of symptoms. For this reason, it is paramount that prehospital clinicians conduct a thorough assessment and, where appropriate, initiate treatment prior to arrival at the hospital. The most common symptom that clinicians will need to manage is severe pain. Many patients will have an individualized treatment plan detailing how they are best managed following an acute crisis and where possible it should be followed.
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