Screening program supported by Hill-Rom

MUSC announced a new screening program on Thursday, Sept. 17, which will identify children with sickle cell disease who are likely to suffer from childhood strokes. Once identified through this painless process called a Transcranial Doppler Screening, children can be treated with blood transfusions which virtually eliminate strokes from occurring.

Major support for the screening program has been provided by Hill-Rom Company Inc., a patient care systems company with headquarters in Batesville, Ind., and a manufacturing facility in North Charleston.

MUSC president James B. Edwards made the announcement and noted that MUSC scientists participated in the landmark discovery that led to this screening program. “We are especially proud that this discovery will improve the lives of thousands of South Carolina families affected by sickle cell,” said Edwards. “Through this screening program which as been so generously supported by Hill-Rom, we have an excellent chance of preventing strokes in many, many children.”

“We at Hill-Rom are proud to be a part of the Charleston and South Carolina business community. And since we are dedicated to patient care and caregivers, we feel fortunate to team with MUSC's Children's Hospital on such a wonderful and important project as this. Thank you, MUSC, for allowing us to participate in this wonderful program.” said Mark Liebetrau, general manager, Long-term Care & Home Care, Hill-Rom.

Transcranial Doppler Screening is a non-invasive, painless method by which technicians can determine changes in the blood velocity within a child's cranium. While subtle, these changes in velocity may signal—at a stage early enough to allow physicians to move into a prevention mode—the probability of a stroke. The screenings are most effective on patients aged 2 to 16.

MUSC's Pediatric Sickle Cell Program is presently conducting regular screenings at the MUSC campus. In the coming months, the screening program will “hit the road,” allowing physicians to screen South Carolina residents throughout the state.

Children found to have relatively high blood velocity at a screening will be placed on a regular screening cycle of at least two times per year. When velocities are consistently high, and other conditions are present, a child will be placed in a treatment program, which is likely to include regular blood transfusions.

The MUSC Children's Hospital is dedicated to enhancing the health of children throughout South Carolina and to providing an environment that supports excellence in pediatric patient care, teaching and research. The hospital's commitment to research leads to the discoveries that will lessen the impact of illness and injuries to children.

Parents or referring physicians who wish to arrange a screening, or to gain more information, are encouraged to contact the MUSC Health Connection at (843) 792-1414.

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