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Transition from pediatric to adult care: Sickle cell disease

Marsha J Treadwell, PhD
Section Editor
Stanley L Schrier, MD
Deputy Editor
Jennifer S Tirnauer, MD


Transition from pediatric to adult medical care can be a high-risk period for youth with sickle cell disease (SCD) due to the complexities of a disease where multiple comorbidities develop in childhood and progress in adulthood if not properly managed. Disease complications may be exacerbated during this period due to the failure of the health care system to ensure continuity of care, resulting in increased use of emergency department (ED) and inpatient resources. Morbidity and mortality increase sharply for patients with SCD in the United States after the age of 18 years.

There is a need for a structured process of transition from pediatric to adult care for youth with SCD that is not based on random criteria such as age but rather is based on social and emotional development and achievement of milestones in disease-management knowledge and skills.

This topic describes our approach to planning and carrying out a smooth transfer from pediatric to adult care in SCD.

Related issues are discussed in separate topic reviews:

SCD management – (see "Routine comprehensive care for children with sickle cell disease" and "Overview of the management and prognosis of sickle cell disease" and "Hydroxyurea use in sickle cell disease" and "Red blood cell transfusion in sickle cell disease")

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 28, 2017.
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