Learn More About: Vaso-Occuslive Crisis

Vaso-Occulsive Crises and Management

Suzie Noronha, MD

Triggers for vaso-occlusive crises

  • Cold
  • Dehydration
  • Illness
  • Overheating
  • Stress

Home pain management - medical

  • NSAIDs
    • Ibuprofen
    • Naproxen
  • Oral narcotics

Non-pharmacologic pain management

  • Warmth
  • Hydration
  • Relaxation
    • Music
    • Journaling
    • Massage
    • Guided imagery
    • Biofeedback

Standard vaso-occlusive crisis management in the ED

  • Intravenous fluids
  • Oxygen
  • NSAIDs
  • Narcotics
  • Admission if this regimen does not control pain

Transition process

  • Transition: Period when patients transfer from pediatric to adult health system
  • Young adults with SCD have a higher risk of death during the period of transition:
    • Lack of knowledgeable providers
    • Lack of continuity of care
    • Lack of awareness of personal health details
  • Best outcomes with early, frequent discussion of transition and disease education
  • Patients need to understand their personal health issues
  • Independence with making appointments and requesting refills
  • Following through on medical recommendations
  • Complete transfer summary made available to receiving provider


  • Important skill to learn during transition
  • Especially important for patients with chronic illness/disability
  • Can be nurtured by local support groups
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