What is Diamond-Blackfan anemia?
Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a rare blood disorder that is usually diagnosed in children during their first year of life. Children with DBA do not make enough red blood cells. These are the cells that carry oxygen to all other cells in the body. Blood cells are made in the bone marrow. In children with DBA, many of these cells that would have become red blood cells die before they develop.
Symptoms and diagnosis
Diamond-Blackfan anemia symptoms
A diagnosis of DBA usually begins when your child's doctor finds signs or symptoms of anemia during a routine exam or after a routine blood test. To make a full diagnosis, your child’s doctor will review medical history and complete a physical exam. A final diagnosis will be made after blood sample and bone marrow testing.
Treatments to fit your child’s needs
The most common treatments for DBA include:
Steroids - These strong drugs fight inflammation in the body and allow 80 percent of people with Diamond-Blackfan anemia to begin making more red blood cells.
Blood transfusion - A blood transfusion is when a donor's blood is transferred to a patient through their vein.
Fighting pediatric cancer and blood disorders
At UW Health, we offer the most advanced treatment options. Our pediatric cancer and blood disorder experts are national research leaders. We test new therapies and continue to work on therapies for pediatric cancer and blood disorders. For many children with rare or hard-to-treat conditions, clinical trials provide new options.
We care for your child as if they are our own
With our expertise comes compassion. Our team considers you and your child part of our family. We will be by your side every step of the way. From diagnosis through treatment and into adulthood, we will care for your child as if they are our own.Learn more
Meet our team
A team assembled just for your child
Your child’s care is our top priority and we understand the unique needs they have. Your child’s team will include:
Oncologists (cancer doctors)
Hematologists (blood disease doctors)
Child Life specialists
Pain management specialists
Physical, occupational and speech therapists
Radiologists and radiation technologists
Your child is in great hands
UW Health’s pediatric hematologists are dedicated to diagnosing and treating all infants, children and adolescents with blood disorders, including Diamond-Blackfan anemia.
Our pediatric hematologists are part of the UW Carbone Cancer Center which is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. This designation means that the doctors taking care of your child are experts in cancer and blood disorder treatment, research and education.
American Family Children’s Hospital
At American Family Children’s Hospital, you will find a friendly, child-centered environment. Our hospital is designed with relaxing spaces and areas where children are encouraged to play.
American Family Children's Hospital - Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
- 1675 Highland Ave. / Madison, WI
- (608) 263-6420
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Patient and support services
You’re never alone
There are services available at both American Family Children’s Hospital and in the community to help patients and their families through every step of their journey.
Child Life specialists help your child and family cope with any fears and anxieties, and the American Family Children's Hospital patient and family visitor guide features information about:
Positive Image Center
Spiritual care services
Tyler's Place (sibling child care)