Thalassemia Centre at DHA launches TCD screening service for patients with sickle cell disease in UAE

WAM DUBAI, 29th September, 2013 (WAM) — The Thalassemia Centre at Dubai Health Authority has launched a Transcranial Doppler (TCD) Ultrasonography screening service aimed at early detection of stroke symptoms amongst patients with sickle cell disease in the UAE. Sickle cell disease is a hereditary blood disorder in which the body produces sickle or crescent shaped red-blood cells, instead of disc-shaped ones, which tend to block the flow of blood in blood vessels. Blocked blood flow can cause pain, organ damage, infection and silent stroke.

TCD Ultrasonography measures the flow of blood through the arteries of the brain and, in case of patients with sickle cell disease, it can detect when the blood flow is abnormal. Patients can undergo immediate exchange transfusion which will dramatically reduce the risk of stroke.

The TCD screening service was launched under the supervision of Dr. Akram Asbeutah, Ph.D., Faculty of Allied Health Sciences at Kuwait University and an expert radiologist, who has been globally commended for his work on this technology. The screening service will be managed by highly experienced staff members who have been trained in the technology to provide accurate diagnosis.

“TCD Ultrasonography is the simplest and most accurate solution recommended by experts globally to control the instances of silent stroke in sickle cell disease patients. A relatively straightforward technique, it is well tolerated by even very young children”, says Dr. Asbeutah.

Dr. Khawla Belhoul, Director of the Dubai Thalassemia Centre, said, “The TCD screening service is our effort to help more and more patients with sickle cell disease undergo the detection process at an early stage so that they can minimise the risks of stroke and the complications associated with it. This is a remarkable step forward in our efforts to provide the best possible treatment to patients in UAE.” Silent stroke in sickle cell disease is a kind of stroke which causes no immediate symptoms but is associated with brain damage. Silent stroke is probably five times as common as symptomatic stroke.

Approximately 10-15% of children with sickle cell disease suffer strokes, with silent strokes predominating in younger patients.


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