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Pediatric hematologist: A pediatrician who specializes in diagnosing and treating childhood blood diseases.

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The pediatric hematology team at Duke offers state-of-the-art care for infants, children, adolescents, and young adults with a wide variety of blood disorders.

Blood is the life-maintaining fluid that circulates through the body's heart, arteries, veins, and capillaries. It carries away waste matter and carbon dioxide, and brings nourishment, electrolytes, hormones, vitamins, antibodies, heat, and oxygen to the tissues.

Because the functions of blood are many and complex, there are many disorders that require clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional. These conditions include anemias, bleeding disorders, as well as cancers of the blood.

Hematology is the scientific study of blood and blood-forming tissues. A hematologist is a physician who specializes in the functions and disorders of the blood.

What is a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist?

A pediatric hematologist/oncologist is a specialist who treats children and adolescents with blood diseases or cancer. They are specially trained to work with young patients as well as in both hematology (the study of blood) and oncology (the study of cancer) in children.

What training must pediatric hematologist/oncologists complete?

Pediatric hematologist/oncologists are medical doctors who have completed 4 years of medical school. In addition, they must have:

  • completed 3 years of residency training in pediatrics
  • completed 3 years of specialized training in pediatric hematology/oncology

General Hematology

Duke's pediatric hematologists/oncologists evaluate, diagnose, and treat children with a variety of other blood disorders, including the following:

  • Anemia
  • Polycythemia
  • Leukopenia
  • Leukocytosis
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Thrombocythemia

Bleeding and Clotting Disorders

The Pediatric Hemostasis and Thrombosis Clinic, under the direction of Courtney Thornburg, MD, MS, is part of the Duke Comprehensive Hemostasis and Thrombosis Center and provides care for children with bleeding and clotting disorders.

Children evaluated in the clinic are eligible to participate in the Center for Disease Control Prevention Thrombosis and Hemostasis Patient Research Registry.

The clinic also participates in an NIH-sponsored Transfusion Medicine/Hemostasis Clinical Trials Network, the Hemophilia Inhibitor Genetics study, and a multi-center study of warfarin pharmacogenetic testing in children.

Bleeding Disorders

Pediatric hematologists at Duke evaluate children with easy bruising, severe epistaxis, menorrhagia, and other abnormal bleeding.

Pre-operative evaluation for children with abnormal bleeding tests, histories of bleeding, and family histories of bleeding disorders is also available.

Comprehensive care is available for children with bleeding disorders such as hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, and platelet function disorders.

Treatments include clotting factor replacement, adjuvant medical therapy, physical therapy, and orthopedic services.

Clotting Disorders

Comprehensive care is available for children with venous thrombosis, post-thrombotic syndrome, and arterial thrombosis including stroke.

Consultation regarding thrombophilia testing is available for children with a personal or family history of thrombosis.

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