Sickle Cell Anemia Treatment Cost in India

Sickle Cell Anemia Treatment Cost in India

The starting cost of Sickle cell anemia treatment in India is 15,000 USD. The price of sickle cell anaemia treatment is not fixed, but it varies as per the causes, symptoms and other health conditions in the patient.

However, if you compare the cost of the treatment to other countries, you will realize that the expenses in India are very less. To be specific, it is almost one-fourth of the total amount of treatment in the US.

What Is Sickle Cell Anemia?

Sickle cell anemia is a sickle cell disease. This is an inherited red blood cell disorder where the red blood cells in the body are not healthy enough to carry oxygen throughout the body. The normal red blood cells are round in shape and hence can easily move through the blood vessels. The abnormal once are sickle-shaped or of the shape of a crescent moon; hence the name of the disease. This particular shape makes the locomotion of the blood cells difficult within the rounded blood vessels. Hence the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood drastically reduces.



This disease is an inherited one— the parents of the patient having the disease pass on the mutated gene to the cells. But the parents need not necessarily show any signs or symptoms of the disease as it is recessive in their bodies but is active in the body of their ward.

The sickle cell anemia patient has an abnormality in the protein, hemoglobin, in the red blood cell, which is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. The people who have this disease inherit two abnormal hemoglobin genes from each of their parents. This hemoglobin is called S or sickle hemoglobin. Depending upon this, sickle cell disease can be classified into the following types:

  • Haemoglobin SB0 thalassemia.
  • Haemoglobin SB+ thalassemia.
  • Haemoglobin SC
  • Haemoglobin SD
  • Haemoglobin SE
  • Haemoglobin SS

In all the above types of sickle cell diseases at least one of the two abnormal cells causes the body to make the hemoglobin S. But when both the inherited genes are mutated the cell has hemoglobin SS, this disease is called sickle cell anemia. It is one of the most common sickle cell diseases. Other common diseases are Haemoglobin SC and Haemoglobin SB. The diseases Haemoglobin SD and Haemoglobin SE are rare and not very common.

Signs and symptoms of sickle cell anemia

Sickle cell anemia is a genetic blood disorder that can cause a wide range of symptoms and complications. Common symptoms of sickle cell anemia include:

  • Pain Crises (Vaso-Occlusive Crises): One of the hallmark symptoms of sickle cell anemia is pain crises. These are episodes of severe, intense pain that can occur suddenly and last for hours to days. The pain can occur anywhere in the body and is often the result of blocked blood vessels due to the abnormally shaped sickle cells.
  • Fatigue: Anemia, which is a shortage of red blood cells, can lead to fatigue, weakness, and reduced stamina.
  • Paleness: Anemia can also cause paleness of the skin and mucous membranes.
  • Jaundice: Sickle cell anemia can lead to the breakdown of red blood cells, causing an excess of bilirubin in the bloodstream. This can result in jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes.
  • Swelling of Hands and Feet: Sickle cells can block blood flow to the extremities, leading to swelling, particularly in the hands and feet.
  • Frequent Infections: Sickle cell disease can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections.
  • Delayed Growth and Development: Children with sickle cell anemia may experience delayed growth and puberty.
  • Organ Damage: Prolonged or frequent blockages of blood vessels can lead to damage to various organs, including the spleen, kidneys, lungs, and liver.
  • Breathing Difficulties: Sickle cell anemia can cause lung-related problems, including acute chest syndrome, a condition similar to pneumonia.
  • Stroke: In children with sickle cell disease, blockages in the blood vessels can lead to strokes.
  • Priapism: In males, sickle cell disease can cause painful, prolonged erections known as priapism.
  • Leg Ulcers: Some individuals with sickle cell anemia may develop leg ulcers, which can be painful and slow to heal.

It’s important to note that the severity and frequency of these symptoms can vary from person to person. Additionally, individuals with sickle cell anemia may go through periods of relative health and well-being between episodes of symptoms and complications.

Treatment and management of sickle cell anemia focus on alleviating symptoms, preventing complications, and improving the overall quality of life for individuals with the disease. This often involves medications, blood transfusions, and other supportive measures. Regular medical follow-up and care are essential for those with sickle cell anemia.

Diagnosis for sickle cell anemia

The diagnosis of sickle cell anemia typically involves a combination of clinical evaluation, laboratory tests, and genetic testing. Here are the key steps involved in diagnosing sickle cell anemia:

1. Clinical Evaluation:

  • The process often begins with a thorough medical history and physical examination by a healthcare provider. The healthcare provider will inquire about the patient’s symptoms, family medical history, and any previous episodes of pain or complications.

2. Blood Tests:

Blood tests are a crucial part of the diagnostic process. The following blood tests are commonly used to diagnose sickle cell anemia:

  • Hemoglobin Electrophoresis: This test separates different types of hemoglobin present in the blood based on their electrical charge. It can identify the presence of hemoglobin S (HbS), which is characteristic of sickle cell anemia. Hemoglobin electrophoresis can also distinguish between sickle cell trait (one abnormal gene) and sickle cell disease (two abnormal genes).
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): A CBC measures various components of the blood, including red blood cell count, hemoglobin levels, hematocrit, and mean corpuscular volume (MCV). Individuals with sickle cell anemia often have lower hemoglobin levels and red blood cell counts.

3. Peripheral Blood Smear:

  • A peripheral blood smear is a microscopic examination of a stained blood sample. It can reveal the characteristic sickle-shaped red blood cells and other abnormalities.

4. Genetic Testing:

  • Genetic testing is used to confirm the presence of specific mutations in the hemoglobin gene responsible for sickle cell anemia. This testing can provide detailed information about the specific genetic variants involved.

5. Family History:

  • A family history of sickle cell anemia or sickle cell trait can also be an important clue in the diagnosis, as sickle cell disease is a genetic condition inherited from parents.

6. Additional Tests:

  • Depending on the patient’s symptoms and medical history, additional tests may be conducted to assess organ function and potential complications associated with sickle cell disease. These tests may include imaging studies, such as ultrasound or MRI, to evaluate organ damage or identify stroke risk in children.

Once a diagnosis of sickle cell anemia is confirmed, the healthcare provider will work with the patient to develop an appropriate treatment plan and provide education about the condition. Regular monitoring and follow-up care are essential to manage the disease and prevent complications.

It’s important to note that sickle cell anemia can be diagnosed in newborns through newborn screening programs in many countries. Early diagnosis allows for prompt intervention and management, which can improve outcomes for individuals with the condition.

Treatment for sickle cell anemia


The treatment for sickle cell anemia aims to manage symptoms, prevent complications, and improve the overall quality of life for individuals with the condition. While there is no cure for sickle cell anemia, various treatment options and strategies can help manage the disease. Here are some key components of treatment:

1. Pain Management:

  • Pain crises, also known as vaso-occlusive crises, are a common and often debilitating symptom of sickle cell anemia. Pain management may involve the use of pain-relieving medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or stronger opioids, under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

2. Hydroxyurea (Hydrea):

  • Hydroxyurea is a medication that can help reduce the frequency and severity of pain crises in people with sickle cell anemia. It works by increasing the production of fetal hemoglobin (HbF), which is less prone to forming the characteristic sickle-shaped cells. Hydroxyurea may also decrease the need for blood transfusions.

3. Blood Transfusions:

  • Some individuals with sickle cell anemia may require regular blood transfusions to increase the number of healthy red blood cells in their circulation. This can help prevent anemia, reduce the risk of stroke, and manage other complications.

4. Bone Marrow Transplantation:

  • Bone marrow transplantation is the only curative treatment for sickle cell anemia. It involves replacing the patient’s bone marrow with that of a compatible donor. This procedure carries significant risks and is typically reserved for individuals with severe forms of the disease.

5. Infection Prevention:

  • People with sickle cell anemia have weakened immune systems, making them more susceptible to infections. Routine vaccinations and prompt treatment of infections are crucial to prevent complications.

6. Oxygen Therapy:

  • In cases of acute chest syndrome or severe respiratory issues, supplemental oxygen therapy may be required to ensure adequate oxygen levels in the blood.

7. Folic Acid Supplementation:

  • Folic acid supplements are often prescribed to individuals with sickle cell anemia to support red blood cell production.

8. Pain Management Techniques:

  • Non-pharmacological pain management techniques, such as relaxation, breathing exercises, and heat therapy, can complement medication in managing pain crises.

Treatment plans are tailored to the individual’s specific needs and may evolve over time. It’s essential for individuals with sickle cell anemia to work closely with a healthcare team experienced in managing the condition to optimize their care and quality of life. Early intervention and consistent medical care can help prevent or mitigate many of the complications associated with sickle cell anemia.

Surgical and other procedures

1. Blood Transfusion: Blood transfusions are commonly used to prevent and treat complications, such as stroke, in individuals with sickle cell disease. During a transfusion, donated blood is given through a vein to increase the number of normal red blood cells and reduce symptoms.

However, there are potential risks associated with transfusions, including an immune response to the donor blood, difficulty finding future donors, and the risk of infection. Additionally, excess iron buildup in the body can occur, potentially leading to damage of organs such as the heart and liver. In some cases, treatment may be needed to reduce iron levels in those who receive regular transfusions.

2. Stem Cell Transplantation: stem cell transplant, also known as a bone marrow transplant, which involves replacing the affected bone marrow with healthy bone marrow from a matched donor, typically a sibling without sickle cell anemia. This procedure is typically recommended only for individuals, usually children, with significant symptoms and complications of sickle cell anemia.

It’s important to discuss treatment options with a healthcare provider who specializes in sickle cell disease to determine the best course of action for an individual’s unique needs.

Frequently Asked Question About Sickle Cell Anemia

1. What is sickle cell anemia?

  • Sickle cell anemia is a genetic blood disorder characterized by abnormally shaped red blood cells that can become rigid and form a crescent or sickle-like shape. These cells can lead to blockages in blood vessels, causing pain, anemia, and other complications.

2. How is sickle cell anemia inherited?

  • Sickle cell anemia is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. This means that a person must inherit two abnormal hemoglobin genes, one from each parent, to develop the disease. Individuals with one abnormal gene are carriers and have sickle cell trait.

3. What are the common symptoms of sickle cell anemia?

  • Common symptoms include pain crises (vaso-occlusive crises), fatigue, jaundice, swelling of hands and feet, frequent infections, delayed growth in children, and organ damage.

4. How is sickle cell anemia diagnosed?

  • Diagnosis involves blood tests, including hemoglobin electrophoresis and a complete blood count (CBC), to detect the presence of abnormal hemoglobin and assess red blood cell parameters. Genetic testing may also be performed.

5. Is there a cure for sickle cell anemia?

  • Currently, bone marrow transplantation is the only known cure for sickle cell anemia. However, this procedure is complex and carries risks, and it is usually reserved for severe cases.

6. What are the treatment options for sickle cell anemia?

  • Treatment focuses on managing symptoms and preventing complications. It may include pain management, medications like hydroxyurea, blood transfusions, antibiotics, and supportive care.

7. Can sickle cell anemia be prevented?

  • Sickle cell anemia cannot be prevented, as it is a genetic condition. However, genetic counseling and testing can help at-risk couples make informed family planning decisions.

8. What is the life expectancy for someone with sickle cell anemia?

  • With proper medical care and management, individuals with sickle cell anemia can live into adulthood and have a reasonable life expectancy. However, complications can vary, and early intervention is essential.

9. Are there specific dietary recommendations for people with sickle cell anemia?

  • A well-balanced diet with adequate hydration is generally recommended. Folate supplements may also be prescribed to support red blood cell production.

10. Can people with sickle cell anemia have children?

  • Yes, individuals with sickle cell anemia can have children. However, there is a risk that their children may inherit the disease, so genetic counseling is often recommended before starting a family.

Best Sickle Cell Doctors in India

Best Sickle Cell Hospitals in India