Children’s Hospital New Orleans Hematology Services

Treatment for blood disorders in children & adolescents

The hematology/oncology service treats a wide variety of hematologic disorders including sickle cell disease and other anemias, neutropenias, platelet and bleeding disorders. Our hematology service follows that largest group of sickle cell disease patients in the state of Louisiana.

More children with blood disorders come to Children's Hospital for treatment than to any other hospital in the state. They receive the highest level of care from a medical staff experienced in the latest treatments for a full spectrum of disorders.

Hemophilia & other blood disordersDoctors standing in front of an elevator reviewing a chart

In 2013, the division of hematology/oncology at Children’s Hospital received accreditation as a federally-recognized Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC) to provide state-of-the-art comprehensive multi-specialty care to Louisiana children with all types of bleeding and clotting disorders. Furthermore, our Program became an affiliate of the American Thrombosis and Hemostasis Network (ATHN), the leading organization committed to advancing and improving care for individuals affected by bleeding and clotting disorders in the US.

Through its HTC status and ATHN affiliation, our division is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its Universal Data Collection Program, a national public health surveillance project created to address the needs and improve the health of individuals with hemophilia and other blood disorders. In addition, our Program actively participates in several industry-sponsored clinical trials, with the goal of locally providing the most advanced and up-to-date treatments for our patients.

Our method of treatment

Patients with hemophilia, von Willebrand's disease, idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura, and other bleeding disorders are evaluated and treated with the most current therapies. Appropriate support for patients and parents is offered as needed. Nurse coordinators educate and coordinate the patient's care in clinic as well as at home.

Treatments that once required a child to be admitted are now often given on an outpatient basis. Patients visiting the hematology/oncology outpatient clinic at Children's Hospital are treated in an environment that places the comfort and care of the child and family first. In the hospital's Ambulatory Care Center, a separate patient suite with a private entrance and waiting area has been dedicated for patients with cancer or blood disorders. The location is convenient for families and provides safe and protective conditions for immunocompromised patients.

The outpatient clinic

Patients visiting our outpatient clinic are closely monitored by their pediatric hematologist/oncologists and nurses and receive a variety of treatments including:

  • Blood transfusions
  • Platelet transfusions
  • Gammaglobulin infusions
  • Factor concentrates
  • Chemotherapy treatments

In addition to eight private rooms, a large treatment room provides patients an opportunity to interact with other patients, watch TV, choose videos from a movie library, play games or simply relax while receiving treatments. With an average of 25 to 30 patient visits a day, the clinic is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

If the need arises during a clinic visit, patients can be promptly admitted to the hospital's acute care unit, designated specifically for hematology/oncology patients.

Sickle cell anemia

At Children's Hospital, the Sickle Cell Disease Clinic is held once a week and offers comprehensive treatment in pain management, transfusion and chelation therapy, as well as psychosocial support and counseling. Sickle cell clinics in collaboration with LSU Health New Orleans are also held in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Lake Charles.

Children's Hospital is also part of the STOP II trial, a NIH-sponsored study to evaluate and prevent strokes in patients with sickle cell disease. Because of this participation, Children's Hospital was one of the first facilities in the state of Louisiana to provide expertise in doing transcranial Doppler sonography (TCD) through our radiology department, headed by Dr. Ken Ward. This imaging study determines which sickle cell patient is at risk of stroke and which interventions are instituted to prevent this devastating complication.

Blood treatment studies

Children's Hospital is also the site of a Novartis-sponsored study of the efficacy of the new oral chelator, Exjade, which has created considerable excitement in the Hematology field. It offers patients with hemoglobinopathies such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia the opportunity to prevent and lessen iron overload, which would otherwise lead to cumulative toxicity to the heart, lungs and liver. It promises to improve compliance, eliminating the tedious and painful Desferal injections. This should eventually improve quality of life and extend life expectancy.

The hematology/oncology service is also involved in a trial of a novel agent manufactured by Celgene that is designed to prevent dehydration of sickle cells, a process that is implicated in the evolution of sickling. These and other trials are being conducted with the aim of finding means to prevent and treat more effectively the complications of sickle cell and its treatments.

Individuals interested in participating in or learning about these trials should contact Dr. Renée Gardner at 504.896.9740.