Clinical Handbook for Sickle Cell Disease Vaso-occlusive Crisis

Sickle cell disease (SCD) causes intermittent and recurrent acute pain episodes as a result of vaso-occlusion. These episodes, referred to as ‘vaso-occlusive crises’ (VOC), are the most common reason for emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations for patients with SCD. Ensuring that patients receive timely, effective pain relief is one of the most important elements of delivering high quality care to individuals with SCD in the ED.

The PCMCH/Ministry of Heath Clinical Handbook for Sickle Cell Disease Vaso-occlusive Crisis is a compendium of the evidence-based rationale and clinical consensus for the management of Sickle Cell Crisis and is for informational purposes only. This document does not mandate health care providers to provide services in accordance with the recommendations included in the handbook.The recommendations are not intended to take the place of the professional skill and judgment of health care providers.

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In 2023, Ontario Health released the Quality Standard Sickle Cell Disease: Care for People of all Ages. This quality standard addresses care for children, young people and adults with sickle cell disease and, where appropriate, it also addresses the needs of families and caregivers or other substitute decision-makers. Additional information supporting the quality standard can be found here.