Sickle Cell Anemia Treatment Cost in India

Sickle Cell Anemia is treated using Allogeneic bone marrow transplant, the cost of which starts from US$ 22,000 in India. The cost is subjective to many factors and can be more or less depending on your medical condition, availablity of the donor, experience of the surgeon and the type of hospital you choose.

How is sickle cell anemia permanently treated?

Sickle Cell Anemia is a genetic disease that is inherited from the parents. Normal red blood cells are round and flexible and move easily throughout the body. Sickle Cell Anemia causes the red blood cells to be malformed (crescent moon or sickle-shaped), sticky and rigid. It inhibits the body’s ability to produce normal hemoglobin, the iron-rich substance that allows blood to carry oxygen from the lungs throughout the body.

Due to the malformation, the cells cannot carry sufficient oxygen to support the body’s needs and have a tendency to stick or clump together leading to poor blood flow and clots. A variety of symptoms and health complications can develop from Sickle Cell Anemia. Early detection and regular treatments can help to alleviate the pain and health problems related to the disease. 

Causes of Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle Cell Anemia is an inherited disease that is caused by a mutation in the gene which triggers the body to produce an abnormal form of hemoglobin known as hemoglobin S. Sickle Cell Anemia is caused by an autosomal recessive inheritance which means that both parents must carry the gene and pass it on to the child for the child to develop the disease.

If only one of the parents has the recessive gene, or if only one recessive gene is inherited, the offspring will have sickle cell trait. Patients with sickle cell trait produce both normal and sickle cell hemoglobin. People with sickle cell trait may have some sickle-shaped cells but typically don’t develop symptoms.

Parents with sickle cell trait, even if they do not have sickle cell anemia, can pass the mutated gene on to their children.

Diagnosis of Sickle Cell Anemia

The most common method for detecting Sickle Cell Anemia is a blood test which checks for the presence of hemoglobin S. The blood test can be performed at any age. The blood is screened and if hemoglobin S is detected additional tests are performed to determine if there are one or two sickle cell genes present.

Prior to birth, a sample of the amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds the baby in the womb) can be tested to detect sickle cell genes.

If a patient is known to have sickle cell anemia, doctors will routinely perform blood tests to monitor their red blood cell production. They may also perform additional tests to detect any health complications related to the disease.

Get To Know About The Signs And Symptoms

This disease is present in the person ever since birth. But the main signs or symptoms start occurring only after 5 to 6 months of the birth. The children having this disease may start showing symptoms early on in life while some may start to show it later in life. The very early symptoms in children are as follows:

  • The yellowness of eyes, Jaundice.
  • Swelling of hands and feet.
  • Symptoms of anemia, such as extreme fatigue and tiredness.
  • Complications, such as infections.
  • Delayed growth
  • Episodes of pain are called pain crises.

Most children suffering from sickle cell anemia are pain-free except for the episodes of crises, but the pain increases and becomes worse in teens and adults. The pain can be chronic and also on-going over a lifetime. Over some time, this disease causes damage to various organs of the body due to the abnormal red blood cells and its reduced capacity to carry oxygen to the various parts of the body. This is the main reason why the organs get devoid of blood rich in oxygen and eventually start getting damaged.

This disease can harm the patient’s organs such as the spleen, liver, kidneys, eyes, heart, brain, bones, joints, or skin.

Diagnosis Of The Disease To Look For

The diagnosis of the disease can be made by examining the blood samples of the person. For the diagnosis of this disease, hemoglobin electrophoresis is done which determines the presence of a mutated hemoglobin gene. If the blood cell is sickle-shaped, then the person is a carrier of the mutated gene or has the disease.

Screening tests, in this case, can be very beneficial. It lets the person know if he or she is a carrier of the mutated hemoglobin gene and can pass this onto one’s own child. This can also be called as a preventive screening test.

A newborn screening test is conducted to detect the disease in a newborn. In case this test results in a positive result, the test is repeated, and further tests are also done to recognize the exact type of hemoglobin cell mutation. In such cases, the parents of the child are directly contacted to let them know of the result. A newborn screening test is done to know whether the baby has an abnormal hemoglobin trait.

Prenatal screening is also done wherein a diagnosis of this disease can be made before the baby is born. This test is done using a sample from the amniotic fluid surrounding the embryo, or tissue is taken from the placenta, the organ that attaches the umbilical cord to the mother’s womb. This test can be done as early as around 8 – 10 weeks into pregnancy.

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