Hemoglobinopathies, in particular sickle cell disease, is the most prevalent group of genetically transmitted diseases in the Brazilian population and should thus be treated as a public health problem. Many of these patients frequently present with complications and require emergency care at the blood bank Coordinator in Rio de Janeiro. This study was developed with the aim of characterizing the emergency assistance required by sickle cell disease patients registered in the blood bank from January 2007 to December 2008. A retrospective study of medical records was made of 78, mostly children, patients from the date of their registration until December 2009. Most attendances (63.7%) were not considered emergency care. The use of specialized services for cases that do not require this level of complexity may saturate the capacity of these centers. However, delay of intervention for complications due to the transportation of patients to specialist centers may lead to deterioration in the clinical condition.