Hematology

The diagnosis of a blood disorder may feel like an uphill battle for you and your child. We’re here to help guide you on this path. With the latest research, participation in clinical trials, and comprehensive treatment services, we offer the region’s top blood disorder care. We’ll support your child and your whole family with patient-centered care throughout this journey.

UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital focuses on making your child whole again.

Hematology conditions we treat

There are many different types of blood disorders, some of which are lifelong illnesses. Treatments are often unique, based on the patient and the type of disease. Care plans focus on treating symptoms and on teaching patients how to live with a lifelong condition. Our hematology team is skilled in identifying and delivering the best treatment options to meet your child’s unique needs.  

Anemia

This condition occurs when your child does not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen. It can often be a symptom of other illnesses somewhere else in the body.

Thalassemia

Hemoglobinopathies are a family of inherited blood disorders that cause abnormal production of hemoglobin molecules—the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. Thalassemia occurs when your child makes hemoglobin differently and has less hemoglobin than normal.

Sickle cell disease

Sickle cell disease, also known as sickle cell anemia, is a hemoglobinopathy caused by abnormally shaped red blood cells that cannot carry oxygen as well as normal cells and that can get stuck in blood vessels, leading to pain and other issues.

Bleeding and clotting disorders

Several blood disorders cause abnormal clotting of the blood. Some conditions, like hemophilia and Von Willebrand’s disease, prevent blood from clotting, leading to excessive bleeding and bruising.

Bone marrow failure and inherited syndromes

Some inherited diseases can prevent your child’s bone marrow from producing one or more types of blood cells in adequate quantities. Other times these problems can develop later in life, causing anemia.

White blood cell disorders

Leukocytes, or white blood cells, help your child fight infections. Having too many leukocytes (leukocytosis) or too few (leukopenia) can lead to problems, such as inflammation or difficulty fighting infections.

Vascular malformations

These growths, made up of blood vessels, are often present at birth. Many are cosmetic and visible on the skin but do not harm your child’s health, but some may cause problems. Some examples of malformations include venous malformations and lymphatic malformations.

Neonatal hematological problems

Newborns can experience problems with their red blood cells, including hemolytic disease of the newborn and anemia. One possible cause of these illnesses is the Rh factor, a protein on the surface of blood cells.

Treatments and services

Treatment for blood disorders varies by disease, age of your child, and symptoms. Because each child is unique, our team meets with you to discuss specific needs, family dynamics, long-term goals, and the emotional aspects of the diagnosis. Our team develops the best treatment services specific to your child.

Evaluation and diagnostics

To diagnose your child’s illness, your care team may conduct a wide variety of blood tests, including clotting tests or bone marrow aspiration. The team may also recommend specialized imaging in collaboration with radiology.

Screenings, surgery, and biopsies

Depending on your family history, your child’s care team may screen for inherited conditions such as hemophilia. We work closely with the region's best pediatric surgery teams, including pediatric anesthesiology, to conduct biopsies of lymph nodes, bone marrow, or other affected tissue to provide an improved diagnosis.

Blood and marrow transplant

There are a number of highly effective treatments for the symptoms of sickle cell disease and other blood disorders. Some patients have been successfully treated with blood and bone marrow transplants.

Medication and chemotherapy

Many blood diseases require medication treatments. The hematology program has a specialty pharmacy to serve patients with unique medication needs, such as patients diagnosed with hemophilia. Some disorders, including sickle cell disease or anemia, can be treated with chemotherapy-like medicines. Sometimes a patient will need ongoing medication therapy. The treatment team can recommend placement of a long-term IV access so medicine can be given more easily over time.

Support services

Treatments for blood disorders can often be long. Specialists can work with patients to manage chronic pain and provide comfort. UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital has a Ronald McDonald House on site for families receiving longer-term treatment. A school in the hospital gives your child the chance to attend class. As treatment wraps up and your child prepares to re-enter school, we set up a videoconference with your child’s classroom to help ease the transition back to school.

Why choose UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital?

When you and your child face a complex diagnosis, knowing where to go for treatment should be clear. At UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, we bring together the region’s top doctors and specialists to deliver comprehensive care in an environment that supports your child at every step.

A multidisciplinary approach 

Blood diseases can touch many different aspects of your child’s health. That’s why we work as a team and develop treatment plans that are specific to your child’s needs. Your child benefits from a care team that collaborates with adult care specialists, providing a seamless transition of care when the time comes. Working with highly skilled nurses, therapists, social workers, and mental health specialists, the hematology team will ensure your child is cared for throughout the treatment process and beyond.

Access to clinical trials

We’re the region’s only pediatric academic medical center. Our physicians and researchers work every day to find innovative treatments for your child’s illness. We’ll talk with you about the latest in clinical trials and the newest techniques academic medicine can offer. Trials include collaborative research in novel therapeutics, gene therapy, and drug trials. All open clinical trials are listed on the clinical trials website.

Care that lasts a lifetime

You and your child are not in the fight alone. The hematology program offers a hemophilia camp for children to meet other kids living with similar illnesses. The camp brings together peers to support each other, develop friendships, and learn how to manage their condition over the long haul.

Resources for you

Learn how Kinzie took control of her hemophilia

We know learning to manage hemophilia can be a big step for children. Learn how Kinzie was able to take control of her von Willebrand disease with the help of her care team.

Health library

Understanding your child’s health is important. The UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital health library helps to answer some of the questions you have about health care.

Other Team Members

Social Workers:

  • Sarah Lawson, LMSW
  • Abigail Yoder, LMSW

Licensed Genetic Counselor:

  • Georgianne Younger, MS, CGC