Blood Disorders

Pediatric oncology and hematology specialists at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Center offer comprehensive treatment for children with blood disorders such as hemophilia, anemia and sickle cell anemia.

Why Choose Mary Bridge for Blood Disorder Treatment?

Parents of children with blood disorders come to our hospital because we offer:

  • Experienced specialists: Our pediatric hematologists have years of expertise in treating children with blood disorders. Instead of receiving care from physicians in training like at some other hospitals, here your child will only see board-certified specialists.
  • Collaborative hemophilia clinic: In partnership with Bloodworks Northwest, we regularly offer a hemophilia clinic where your child can see a team of specialists all in one day. This clinic treats children with clotting disorders that include hemophilia and Von Willebrand disease.
  • Convenient care: We provide high quality care close to home, giving you access to hematology experts without having to travel.

Comprehensive blood disorder support at Mary Bridge

We make treatment for blood disorders easier on children and families, offering services that include:

  • Child life specialists: Our child life services team helps explain procedures in child-friendly language and distract your child during blood draws.
  • Sedation services: We can provide anesthesia or sedation as needed to ensure your child’s comfort.
  • Personalized care coordination: Our personal health partners (PHPs) include nurses and social workers to guide you through the medical system, answer questions and help with paperwork.
  • Financial assistance: We provide financial assistance for families struggling to pay for treatment.

Find out more about our  child and family support services.

Hemophilia and Von Willebrand Disease

Hemophilia and Von Willebrand disease are inherited conditions where the body has trouble forming blood clots. Blood clots stop the body from bleeding, both on the surface as well as internally.  Symptoms may include uncontrolled bleeding, frequent or severe nosebleeds and easy bruising.

While hemophilia affects boys more often than girls, Von Willebrand disease affects boys and girls equally. It is the most common inherited bleeding disorder and is typically milder than hemophilia. Heavy menstrual bleeding is one of the main symptoms of Von Willebrand disease in young women. 

Our hemophilia and Von Willebrand disease services

Our hospital runs a collaborative  hemophilia clinic through Bloodworks Northwest, giving children with hemophilia and Von Willebrand disease access to advanced care without having to travel to Seattle. Our services include:

  • Medication management: One treatment for Von Willebrand disease is desmopressin (DDAVP®). This medicine is an injection or nasal spray that causes the body to release more of its own clotting substances into the bloodstream. Doctors may also prescribe antifibrinolytic drugs, which prevent blood clots from breaking down after surgery or injury.
  • Clotting factor replacement therapy: The main treatment for hemophilia is intravenous (IV) infusion of medication to control bleeding. Doctors may use clotting factor replacement to treat patients Von Willebrand disease who do not respond to desmopressin. We also treat complex cases where children have developed resistance to clotting factors.
  • Joint measurements and monitoring: Bleeding within the joints is a common problem for hemophilia patients. We will measure your child’s joints and provide IV clotting factor replacement to stop any bleeding in the joints and/or muscles.
  • Physical therapy: Our physical therapists can assist with exercises to improve your child’s range of motion during recovery from joint and/or muscle bleeding episodes.

Blood Clots (Thrombosis)

A thrombosis is a blood clot. While blood clots are essential to stop bleeding, an overactive clotting system can also cause problems in the body. A large clot can block blood flow, or break free and travel to other areas where it causes a blockage. 

Blockages can have serious and even fatal complications. A blockage in the brain can cause a stroke, while a clot in a blood vessel in the lungs can cause a pulmonary embolism (a potentially life-threatening blood clot in the lungs). Symptoms of a blood clot may include swelling, pain and redness in the affected area.

Our hematologists provide diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care for blood clots. We evaluate all treatment options for your child, including:

  • Vascular surgery to break up a blood clot
  • Thrombolysis, which is the process of dissolving blood clots with medication
  • Long-term blood thinner treatment as necessary
  • Monitoring for blood clot complications

Anemia

Anemia is a condition marked by low counts of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Symptoms include tiredness, pale skin, shortness of breath and dizziness. In most cases, anemia results from iron or vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Aplastic anemia is a more rare condition where blood cell production slows or stops due to damage to bone marrow. Bone marrow is the spongy interior of bones that produces blood cells. Aplastic anemia can have severe or even fatal effects. Causes may include:

  • Radiation or chemotherapy
  • Chemical exposure
  • Use of certain antibiotics
  • Autoimmune disorders or viral infection

Anemia treatment

Our experts provide treatment for anemia and other low blood counts, with services that include:

  • Information on dietary changes that can boost red blood cells to normal levels
  • Iron infusions for anemia resulting from iron deficiency
  • Consultation with pediatric gastroenterologists to develop a feeding or infusion plan if necessary
  • Transfusion support and inpatient hospitalization for rare, severe cases
  • Bone marrow transplant coordination with Seattle Children’s Hospital for cases of aplastic anemia. Also called a stem cell transplant, this procedure replaces defective blood-forming cells with normal ones.

Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited condition where abnormally shaped red blood cells get stuck in blood vessels, preventing normal blood flow. Symptoms can include anemia, pain and repeat infections. In babies, the first symptom parents may notice is swollen hands and feet.

We offer a comprehensive sickle cell program. A dedicated nurse case manager will ensure that your child gets personalized care and the recommended tests and treatments. Our sickle cell anemia services include:

  • Chronic transfusion therapy for children with complications
  • Bone marrow transplant referrals and care coordination with Seattle Children’s Hospital for children with sickle cell disease
  • Medication management for Hydrea (hydroxyurea), the only drug currently available to reduce sickle cell crisis

Thalassemia

Thalassemia is a rare inherited condition where the body does not produce enough red blood cells or oxygen-carrying hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells. Low hemoglobin and red blood cell counts can cause anemia, leading to symptoms like tiredness, weakness and pale skin.

Our hematologists care for children with severe thalassemia. We provide chronic transfusion support and coordinate referrals for bone marrow transplant with Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Contact Us

To make an appointment, please call 253-403-3481.