A blood disorder effecting infants and young children
Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that causes the body to produce less hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that helps to carry oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Some infants show signs of thalassemia at birth, while other children develop them over the first two years of life.
Determining the right treatment for your child
The treatment recommended for your child will depend on how severe the disorder is.
For many children with mild forms of thalassemia, no treatment is needed.
For moderate to severe thalassemia, treatments might include:
Blood transfusions from healthy donors to help get rid of anemia
Iron chelation therapy to remove excess iron from the body and prevent iron overload
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.
Symptoms and diagnosis
Thalassemia signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of thalassemia can include:
Pale or yellowish skin
Facial bone deformities
Your child’s doctor will do a full physical exam and take a detailed medical history. They will also request a blood test to measure the number of red blood cells and hemoglobin.
Care for your child
Receiving care from the pediatric hematology, oncology and bone marrow transplant program at American Family Children’s Hospital means you have access to the knowledge and skills of many medical and support specialists for your child’s complex health diagnosis like cancer.
American Family Children's Hospital - Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
- 1675 Highland Ave. / Madison, WI
- (608) 263-6420
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Meet our team
An experienced team providing your child with the care they deserve
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
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)