Currently there is a lack of agreement on the effectiveness of regular automated red blood cell exchange transfusion treatment for adult patients with SCD. Exchange transfusion removes and replaces sickled red blood cells with normal ones. The two-hour procedure replaces 70% of a patient’s blood with donor blood. It is possible that exchange transfusion slows down or reverses development of organ damage. However, blood transfusions can have side-effects, such as reactions to the transfusion procedure or iron toxicity due to the presence of excessive red blood cells.

The Sickle Cell Disease and Cardiovascular Risk—Red Cell Exchange (SCD-CARRE) randomized clinical trial will enroll 150 adult SCD participants in the United States and Europe to determine whether regular red blood cell exchange should be added to the current standard of care for SCD and certain characteristics. All participants will be followed on a monthly basis for one year to assess health outcomes. The SCD-CARRE trial is supported by a grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Patients assigned to the control group will continue to receive their usual care. The intervention group will get the usual care for SCD, plus exchange blood transfusion every 3-6 weeks for 12 months.