Sickle Cell Information for Healthcare Providers

Key points

  • Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a complex group of inherited blood disorders associated with debilitating pain and complications that can affect every organ in the body
  • Healthcare providers caring for people with SCD may find the resources on this page helpful
Photo of a group of healthcare providers of mixed genders, races and ages.

ASH Clinical Guidelines on SCD

In 2016, the American Society of Hematology (ASH) initiated an effort to develop clinical practice guidelines on SCD. ASH formed a committee of medical experts, researchers and patients to review evidence and form recommendations on SCD. The recommendations address treatment of both adult and pediatric SCD.

Available guidelines

In partnership with ASH, CDC has created the Steps to Better Health for people with SCD toolkit based on these clinical guidelines. These patient-friendly materials include common complications of SCD and steps to take for better health.

NHLBI Clinical Guidelines on SCD

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) published a series of clinical practice guidelines for people with SCD in 2014. These guidelines were based on reviews of the scientific evidence available at that time. Examples include

  • Penicillin prophylaxis prevents pneumococcal sepsis in children.
  • Transfusions to reduce Hb S levels to below 30% prevent strokes in children with high central nervous system blood flow.
  • Hydroxyurea decreases crises in patients with severe SCD.

Read more about these practice guidelines.

CDC Resources

CDC Communication Resources

Watch videos on select topics about SCD

View and print tip sheets to give patients and families

CDC Scientific Articles

Read recent scientific articles generated from CDC programs and activities on SCD

Addressing Health Disparities and Racism: Real Steps Toward Change

Read action steps healthcare providers and health systems can take to get REAL with structural racism, interpersonal racism, and institutional racism

Hemoglobinopathies Surveillance Activities

Find information on CDC's current surveillance project, the Sickle Cell Data Collection (SCDC) program, and a Transfusion Complications Monitoring project

Other Resources

American Society of Hematology (ASH) Academy On Demand

A series of free, web-based videos from ASH to supplement education in benign hematology for fellows

ASH SCD Initiative

An initiative launched by ASH to improve outcomes for individuals with SCD, both in the United States and globally

Clinical Trials

A source of up-to-date information on SCD clinical research trials

Foundation for Women & Girls+ with Blood DisordersA

A foundation dedicated to ensuring all women and adolescent girls with blood disorders are correctly diagnosed and optimally treated and managed at every stage of life

Management of Pain in SCD

A comprehensive guideline to aid healthcare professionals in the management of patients with acute and chronic pain associated with SCD

Managing SCD in the Emergency Department

A point-of-care tool developed by the American College of Emergency Physicians that provides clinical content and tools for emergency medicine physicians to use while providing care in the emergency department

National Alliance of Sickle Cell Centers

An organization that provides support for adult and pediatric SCD centers

Sickle Cell Adult Providers Network

A network for healthcare providers who serve adults with SCD

Sickle Cell Information Center

A web-based resource for information about SCD for patients, families, and healthcare providers

Society of Hospital Medicine

An organization that provides SCD resources for hospitalists

Understanding the Complications of SCD

An evidence-based review article about SCD complications and the nursing implications for each

  1. +This includes persons with, or have had, the ability to menstruate.