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Sickle Cell Care

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Sickle Cell Care

Augusta University Health offers sickle cell disease treatment and management from childhood to adulthood at our comprehensive, internationally recognized Sickle Cell Center.

Walter L. Shepeard Building
989 St. Sebastian Way
Augusta, GA 30912
(706) 721-2171
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  • Sickle Cell Care

About

What is sickle cell disease?

Sickle cell disease is not an infection or cancer; it is a genetic disorder. This means you have to inherit the gene with the sickle cell trait from your parents - each of whom would have to carry the gene. Sickle cell disorders include sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, and other hemoglobinopathies.

The shape of red blood cells are normally round and smooth, with sickle cell, they are curved. Sickle-shaped cells have a difficult time carrying oxygen around the body, becoming hard and sticking together, making it difficult for the blood cells to flow smoothly through small blood vessels. This can cause blockages that can bring about serious infections and pain. Ultimately, it can lead to strokes and other health problems.

History of the Sickle Cell Center

Augusta University has played an important role in the development of clinical programs and research into sickle cell disease. From the 1920-50's, Dr. Virgil Sydenstricker, for whom a branch of the hospital building is named, had a strong interest in sickle cell disease. Dr. Titus H. J. Huisman (1959-95) led hemoglobin research and later the Sickle Cell Center.

Our Approach

The Augusta University is a recognized Sickle Cell Center that treats both adults and children. Our center is at the forefront of patient care, research, and education, offering: 

  • Multidisciplinary care: Teamwork is essential in caring for sickle cell patients, specialists include hematologist/oncologists, anesthesiologists, and perioperative medicine specialists, working together to determine your optimal care plan.
  • Outreach services: AU Health has treatment clinics available across Georgia for both children and adults in Athen, Valdosta, Waycross, Athens, Albany, Macon, Savannah and Sylvester.
  • Clinical trials: Augusta University is at the forefront of research for sickle cell disease treatment options. We are currently involved in clinical trials in pediatric and adult medicine that include bone marrow transplant studies, drug development, and discovery of genetic modifiers that could greatly benefit individuals living with sickle cell disease.
  • Referrals: We provide referrals for any disease-related complications to other AU Health specialists, including orthopaedics, nephrology, cardiology, and ophthalmology.

Academic Advantage

Sickle cell research will continue to grow at Augusta University to enrich the lives of patients, parents, and young professionals.  Our institution prides itself on the compassion and dedication of our faculty and staff to ensures that our patients always receive the very best medical care.

Adult Sickle Cell Program Director
Dr. Abdullah Kutlar

Our adult clinic is open to patients for their routine office visits. We also have a treatment room for preliminary treatment of acute sickle cell emergencies, if you are in pain, and to request admission to Augusta University Medical Center, if necessary. For prescription refill requests, please call our Augusta office, prescriptions will be filled within 48 to 72 hours of calling.

Adult Sickle Cell Clinic

Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 
Walter L. Shepeard Building (EF)
989 St. Sebastian Way
Augusta, GA  30912
Call: (706) 721-2171
Fax: (706) 721-4575

Transfusions and infusions

Adults receive their infusions at the Georgia Cancer Center - Infusion Clinic

Adult Outreach Clinics

To better serve our sickle cell patients, AU Health has clinics available across Georgia so patients don't always have to make the trip to Augusta, GA. Locations are in:

Albany
1009 N. Monroe Street
Suite B
Albany, GA 31701
(229) 312-9050

Macon
171 Emery Highway
Macon, GA 31201-3666
(478) 745-0144

Savannah
1107 E. 66th Street
Savannah, GA 31404
(912) 350-8404

Sylvester
807 South Isabella St.
Sylvester, GA 31791
(229) 776-6961

Pediatric Sickle Cell Program Director
Dr. Betty Pace

Patients from across Georgia and South Carolina come to us for their care. We have the only facility in the area to offer comprehensive services to children with sickle cell disease. We evaluate and diagnose pediatric patients for sickle cell,

  • Child Life Specialists: Having sickle cell can be scary for a child, our child life specialists are trained to talk to your child and help them understand and cope with treatment they will need.
  • 24-hour acute care and health maintenance services.

Pediatric Sickle Cell Clinic
Medical Office Building - 3rd Floor
1447 Harper Street
Augusta, GA 30912
Call: (706) 721-4929
Fax: (706) 721-4575

Newborn screening

The Titus Huisman Laboratory at Augusta University is designated by the state of Georgia as a facility to screen newborns for sickle cell disease and other hemoglobinopathies.

All babies born in Georgia are screened for sickle cell disease at birth; early diagnosis and care can prevent death and serious complications in the first year of life.

Transfusions and infusions

Children receive their infusion treatments at the infusion suite adjacent to Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic in the Medical Office Building - 3rd floor.

Pediatric Outreach Clinics

Care extends across Georgia. We conduct monthly on-site and/or telemedicine visits in South Georgia at our Valdosta, Albany, Waycross, and Dublin locations supported by the Georgia Department of Public Health. 

Pediatric Specialty Clinic
810 13th Avenue
Suite 108
Albany, GA 31702
(229) 312-5480

St. Mary’s Hospital
1230 Baxter Street
Athens, GA 30606
(706) 389-2800

Dublin
654 County Farm Road
Dublin, GA 31021
(478) 272-2051

Valdosta
206 S. Patterson St.
Valdosta, GA  31602
(229) 245-4310

Waycross
21123 Church St.
Waycross, GA 31501
(912) 285-6304

Management and treatment options for patients

Patients with sickle cell diseases need continuous care throughout their lives so that they can live healthy and pain free. AU Health is involved with our sickle cell patients for all aspects of their care. We provide:

Medication, vaccinations, and supplements

  • Hydroxyurea, an oral medication taken to reduce abnormal blood cell production, which, can help reduce pain, prevent serious complications and improve daily quality of life.
  • Folic acid supplements, to help a patient’s body make new red blood cells.
  • Recent FDA-approved drugs
  • Penicillin prophylaxis, to help prevent pneumonia and infections in young children.
  • Vaccinations, recommended only for sickle cell patients to protect against bacterial pneumonia and flu.
  • Deferoxamine treatments, to eliminate excess iron after many transfusions.

Infusions and transfusions

  • Blood transfusions, to replace a patient’s blood with normal blood cells from a donor to stop sickling and manage acute severe complications requiring hospitalization.
  • Infusion and aphaeresis services, for long-term stroke management.

Other treatments

  • Pain management, for acute and/or chronic pain related to sickle cell disease.
  • Transcranial doppler ultrasound testing and interpretation to monitor our patients to prevent strokes.
  • Surgery

Support services

We provide continual care and support for our sickle cell patients and their families throughout their diagnosis and treatment for symptom management and lifelong monitoring. Patients will be provided the following services:

  • Education
  • Follow-up care
  • Patient and family counseling
  • Social worker consultations
  • Registered dietitians 
  • Psychosocial support
 

Our Providers

Augusta University Medical Center specialists provide care and support throughout your entire healthcare journey.

Badamosi, Nnenna Ukachi, MD, MPH

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Kutlar, Abdullah, MD

Hematology/Oncology

Pace, Betty Sue, MD

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

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