Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

Improved survival of children and adolescents with sickle cell disease

  1. Charles T. Quinn13,
  2. Zora R. Rogers13,
  3. Timothy L. McCavit13, and
  4. George R. Buchanan13
  1. 1Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas;
  2. 2Southwestern Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center, Dallas, TX; and
  3. 3Children's Medical Center Dallas, TX


The survival of young children with sickle cell disease (SCD) has improved, but less is known about older children and adolescents. We studied the Dallas Newborn Cohort (DNC) to estimate contemporary 18-year survival for newborns with SCD and document changes in the causes and ages of death over time. We also explored whether improvements in the quality of medical care were temporally associated with survival. The DNC now includes 940 subjects with 8857 patient-years of follow-up. Most children with sickle cell anemia (93.9%) and nearly all children with milder forms of SCD (98.4%) now live to become adults. The incidence of death and the pattern of mortality changed over the duration of the cohort. Sepsis is no longer the leading cause of death. All the recent deaths in the cohort occurred in patients 18 years or older, most shortly after the transition to adult care. Quality of care in the DNC has improved over time, with significantly more timely initial visits and preventive interventions for young children. In summary, most children with SCD now survive the childhood years, but young adults who transition to adult medical care are at high risk for early death.

  • Submitted July 20, 2009.
  • Accepted February 4, 2010.
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