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Arkansas to Create Adult Sickle Cell Clinic at UAMS


Yesterday, Governor Mike Beebe signed into law a measure creating the Adult Sickle Cell Clinic at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

State Representative Reginald Murdock, D-Marianna, sponsored the bill, HB 1604, which was introduced in February. The new law will create a comprehensive-care clinic for the treatment of sickle cell disease in adults.

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. In SCD, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a "sickle."

Sickle cell disease affects millions of people throughout the world and is particularly common among people of African, Hispanic or
Mediterranean descent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states SCD affects an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 Americans. The disease occurs in about 1 out of every 500 African Americans births. The disease occurs in about 1 out of every 36,000 Hispanic Americans births.

Signs and symptoms of sickle cell anemia usually show up after an infant is 4 months old and may include anemia, fatigue, episodes of pain, hand-foot syndrome (swollen hands and feet), frequent infections, and delayed growth.

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Its estimated more than a thousand people in Arkansas suffer from SCD. The new clinic created at UAMS will make sure the clinic’s doctors and nurses are trained in treating sickle cell disease in adults.

In addition, a tracking program will be established to make sure treatment given to patients is actually working.

The clinic will treat patients directly and serve as a resource to primary-care physicians and UAMS' area health-education clinics. A nurse practitioner would be available at all hours.

The new clinic will provide sickle cell patients with an annual visit for comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. Patients with more severe complications may require more frequent treatment.

A social worker will be available at the new clinic to assist patients and families. Annual cost of the clinic is estimated at $400,000. From half to three-fourths of the cost is expected to be reimbursed by the federal government.

Arkansas State Legislature
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention