ASH Releases Clinical Practice Guidelines on Management of Pain in Sickle Cell Disease, and more

ASH Releases Clinical Practice Guidelines on Management of Pain in Sickle Cell Disease

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) has released new clinical practice guidelines on Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) Management of Acute and Chronic Pain, the latest in the Society’s evidence-based series of clinical practice guidelines for SCD aiming to improve and personalize care for individuals with this complex condition.

Severe pain is the most common complication of SCD and affects individuals’ quality of life. Acute pain episodes are the leading cause of emergency department visits and hospitalizations for individuals living with SCD. Further, chronic pain develops as individuals age and affects them daily.

The 18 recommendations of the panel, which were published in Blood Advances, aim to help health care providers address this clinical challenge by bringing awareness to all the available tools that can be used to manage acute and chronic SCD pain – including both medications and non-medication treatments.

Highlights include:

  • Individuals seeking care for the treatment of acute pain should have their pain assessed and medication administered within 1 hour of their arrival at the acute care facility. Individuals should then be frequently reassessed, at least every 30-60 minutes, for consideration of additional doses of pain medication to optimize their pain control.
  • Individuals who experience chronic pain may benefit from a tailored treatment plan when starting or ending chronic opioid therapy. Treatment decisions should balance the risks and benefits of opioids and consider the individual’s function, goals, and durability of benefit over time.
  • Medications that treat pain that are not opioids can be considered for individuals who experience chronic pain as part of a comprehensive pain treatment plan.
  • Individuals living with SCD who have recurrent acute pain may not benefit from chronic monthly transfusions as a first-line strategy to prevent or reduce future acute pain episodes.

“We’ve seen remarkable advances in the therapies available for SCD and its complications, with two new FDA-approved therapies last year alone and many more in development. Yet care [for SCD] is often the responsibility of primary care, family, and emergency room physicians and nurses [rather than SCD specialists], and the community has long expressed a strong need for guidance that can help them deliver the best care for their patients,” said Robert Liem, MD, chair of the ASH Sickle Cell Disease Guideline Coordination Panel and director of the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Program at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating SCD, and these guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations about how to individualize care in accordance with individuals’ preferences and values.”

ASH has published three other SCD guidelines, covering cardiopulmonary and kidney disease, transfusion support, and cerebrovascular disease. A fifth chapter, on transplantation, is in development.

Find the new guidelines and learn about the guideline development process here.


Hats Off to the 2020 ASH Honorific Award Recipients!

Congratulations to this year’s recipients of the ASH Honorific Awards! These awards, the Society’s most prestigious, recognize hematologists who have made significant contributions to the field.

This international group of pioneering scientists, innovative clinicians, and selfless mentors have advanced hematology through a variety of vital contributions, from foundational insights into stem cell regulation and the genetic signatures of cancer and inherited blood diseases, to implementing health system-wide programs to increase the diversity of the workforce and foster environments that support future generations of hematologists.

“We recognize this year’s diverse group of Honorific Award recipients for their outstanding contributions to hematology through patient care, research, and mentorship,” said ASH President Stephanie Lee, MD, MPH, of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.

The 2020 Honorific Awards recipients are:

Mohandas Narla, DSc, New York Blood Center
Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology

Ari Melnick, MD, Weill Cornell Medicine
Courtney DiNardo, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Ernest Beutler Lecture and Prize

Adolfo Ferrando, MD, PhD, Columbia University Institute for Cancer Genetics
William Dameshek Prize

Toshio Suda, MD, PhD, National University of Singapore and the International Research Center for Medical Sciences, Kumamoto University
E. Donnall Thomas Lecture and Prize

Michelle Le Beau, PhD, University of Chicago and the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
Maria Domenica Cappellini, MD, University of Milan
Henry M. Stratton Medal

Judith Gasson, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
Wendy Stock, MD, University of Chicago
Mentor Awards

Edward J. Benz, Jr., MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School
Leadership in Promoting Diversity

The awards will be presented during the 62nd ASH Annual Meeting, December 5-8, 2020. Learn more here.


Two Communicator Awards for ASH Clinical News

ASH Clinical News (ACN) is proud to be the recipient of two 2020 Communicator Awards of Distinction from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts!

The first award was presented for a Blood Beyond Borders feature article published in the magazine’s August 2019 issue, “Israel and Palestine Find Common Ground in Blood Services,” by freelance writer Debra L. Beck. The article incorporated perspectives from people on both sides of the conflict to show how medical care and preserving life with blood products transcends borders.

The second award was given to the final editorial of past ACN editor-in-chief Mikkael Sekeres, MD, MS, titled “My Patients, My Lanes.” In this Editor’s Corner, published in the December 2019 issue, Dr. Sekeres defined the lanes of his “health-care highway” – the issues about which he feels he has a professional, moral, and ethical obligation to have an opinion.

These achievements are due in large part to readers’ enthusiastic response to the content we provide. Thank you for your continued engagement and support of this publication!