Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Treating Sickle Cell Disease With Transfusion Therapy

From time to time I get request from people to write guest blogs on the subject of Sickle Cell Disease and associated treatments. I encourage my readers to read, research and write about sickle cell.
I do not endorse any one treatment or the guest blogger's comments, but I do want my readers to be involved in the process of treatment analysis.
I have my personal opinions about the subject of "Transfusion Therapy" and its associated risks, i.e. causing Iron Overload (damage to liver, heart & other organs), Alloimmunity (immunity against transfused red blood cells & antibodies that target and destroy the transfused blood cells), Hyperviscosity (sticky blood which can cause stroke, higher blood pressure), and Transmission of virus' (more transfusions could = more chance of transferred blood infection). But, I'll keep my opinions to myself.
What I will say is; "Know the benefits AND risks with any treatment or 'cure'. Talk to your doctor and weight them for yourself, then decide what treatment is best for you."   
This guest blogger is Alex Kerwin, a Michigan-based freelance writer from Central Michigan University. Outside of writing, he helps organizes support groups for those struggling with addiction.

"One of the leading treatments for sickle cell anemia is transfusion therapy.
The Seriousness of Transfusion Therapy
Transfusion therapy can save the life of a patient with sickle cell anemia. In other cases, transfusion therapy can protect organs from becoming damaged by the disease. The treatment is very serious and requires much attention to detail. Any doctor without extensive knowledge of sickle cell anemia may wind up causing new complications that would otherwise never occur.

Red blood cells are very complicated to handle in a medical fashion. However, if the procedures are performed correctly, the transfusion therapy will have very beneficial results. Transfusion therapy will cause a suppression of circulating cells that have been deformed by the disease. This helps to reduce episodes of pain and other symptoms by introducing healthy and well shaped red blood cells into the body.

The Many Types of Transfusion Therapy

Transfusion therapy can be performed in a variety of ways. Simple transfusion, erythrocytapheresis and partial exchange are all methods of transfusion used for specific cases. The most extreme cases would usually benefit from a treatment of erythrocytapheresis. Whichever specific method is used, transfusion works by introducing new cells into the body. This blood can be of any age, because age usually has no impact on the blood.

The major debate about transfusion therapy is related to the lack of knowledge of how the body may react to cell transfusion. There are many potential dangers when receiving cell therapy. The main goal of transfusion therapy is to add more healthy red blood cells in order to remove the threat of the sickle shaped cells. The problem is red blood cells contain iron. When a patient receives numerous blood transfusions, they may accumulate too much iron in the body. Transfusion therapy is a serious operation that should be discussed at length with the doctor before any decisions are made."

Thank you Adam, I really appreciate your time and effort to educate people about this therapy.