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Adult Sickle Cell Program

Recognizing an unmet need in our region, Saint Agnes established the only Adult Sickle Cell program between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Since its start in 1994, the program has provided support to thousands of patients and their families, helping them better understand how to live with and manage this genetic disorder. 

Our outpatient clinic provides a setting for patients to be seen by a physician specializing in Sickle Cell Disease. Their care is complemented by a nurse and a certified sickle cell counselor, as well as a social service assessment. Recommendations for care are coordinated with the primary care physician for each individual patient. If the patient is in need of medical management and pain control, routine follow-up visits to the clinic are scheduled.

What is Sickle Cell Disease?

  • Sickle Cell Disease is a genetic blood disorder that results in abnormally shaped red blood cells.
  • Defective hemoglobin molecules in the blood cells stick together causing the red blood cells to become stiff and sticky and to take on a sickle-type shape (hence its name).
  • These distorted cells live only 10 to 20 days, in contrast to normal red blood cells, which live about 120 days.
  • This chronic undersupply of red blood cells makes the Sickle Cell patient anemic.
  • When the cells clump together, they can cause blockages leading to severe pain, tissue and organ damage.

Who does Sickle Cell Disease affect?

Sickle Cell Disease is a genetic disorder. It affects more than 70,000 Americans, primarily of African heritage, but also those of Mediterranean, Caribbean, South and Central American, Arabian, or East Indian ancestry. One in 400 African-American newborns in the United States has sickle cell anemia, and it is the most prevalent of genetic diseases.

Sickle Cell Disease is a very serious condition, but Saint Agnes can help patients learn ways to control their symptoms and decrease the severity and frequency of attacks. For more information, call (559) 450-2002.


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Saint Agnes Medical Center | 1303 E. Herndon Ave. Fresno, CA 93720 | 559-450-3000