Redbridge SERC




Diamond Blackfan Anaemia is

  •          A rare bone marrow disorder
  •          Caused by a genetic “error” that occurs sporadically rather than being inherited.
  •          DBA can cause fatigue, poor growth, lack of appetite and a pale complexion.
  •          50% patients with DBA also have some congenital abnormality

Fact sheets

Training / Help

Newbridge Outreach 

Community Nursing Team 


Screenshot for video: Audrey Nethery DBA Awareness Page

Audrey Nethery DBA Awareness Page

A YouTube channel around the exploits of a young girl with DBA.

Screenshot for video: ‘The Girl Who Needs Other People’s Blood To Survive’

‘The Girl Who Needs Other People’s Blood To Survive’

BBC Three ‘Extraordinary Children’ video around a 5 year old with DBA.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How is it treated?

    The two common options for treating DBA are corticosteroids and blood transfusions.

    Bone marrow/stem cell transplantation may also be considered.  

    Some patients may also need Chelation Therapy.

  • Can anyone have DBA?

    DBA affects both boys and girls, and every ethnic group. 

    Diagnosis is normally made when a child is less than 2 years old.

  • What is Chelation Therapy?

    Red cell transfusions can also cause a build-up of extra iron in the body which can harm the heart and/or liver, cause diabetes, or slow down normal growth.

    Chelation Therapy is used to remove excess iron in body tissues.

  • What causes DBA?

    Some patients have a family history of DBA. 

    50% have a genetic cause. 

    In many cases, they do not know the cause.

  • What are the signs and symptoms of DBA?

    Common symptoms are the same as anaemia, including pale skin, sleepiness, rapid heartbeat and a heart murmur.

  • What is bone marrow/stem cell transplantation?

    Bone marrow/stem cell transplantation replaces a patient’s bone marrow/stem cells with those from a healthy, matching donor. 

    A patient’s old, faulty bone marrow is destroyed to make way for the stem cells.

    This leaves the patient in a weakened state for some time, with long stays in hospital likely.

    However, there are many people who have been successfully treated after having suffered the symptoms of DBA.

    A stem cell transplant is only considered after every other treatment avenue has been exhausted. 

    Siblings have a 1 in 4 chance of being a match.

  • Can other family members have DBA?

    Most families only have one child with DBA. 

    However, in 10% of cases, there is more than one affected family member. 

    If you have DBA, there’s a 50% chance your children will have DBA. 

  • Why are blood transfusions helpful?

    In a blood transfusion, a person receives healthy red blood cells from another person.

    Transfusions may be needed every 3-5 weeks.

  • In what activities can a DBA patient engage?

    Depending on the patient’s medical condition and his/her doctor’s advice, but most patients are encouraged and able to get some form of physical exercise every day.

    Normal physical activity is generally permitted.

Family Resources



Independent parental education support service.

Government website signposting to information


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