Hemolytic anemia is a condition where there are not enough red blood cells in the blood. It is caused by premature destruction of red blood cells. There are a number of specific types of hemolytic anemia, which are described individually.
Alternative Names: Anemia - hemolytic
Causes, incidence, and risk factors:
Hemolytic anemia occurs when the bone marrow is unable to make up for premature destruction of red blood cells by increasing their production. When the marrow is able to make up the loss, anemia does not occur.
There are many types of hemolytic anemia, which are classified by the location of the defect. The defect may be in the red blood cell itself (intrinsic factor ), or outside the red blood cell (extrinsic factor).
Causes of hemolytic anemia include infection, certain medications, autoimmune disorders , and inherited disorders. Types of hemolytic anemia include:
Signs and tests:
These are tests for hemolysis (red blood cell destruction). There are specific tests which identify the specific types of hemolytic anemia. They are performed after hemolysis has been established.
Direct measurement of the red cell life span by radioactive tagging techniques shows a shortened life span.
This disease may also affect the following test results depending on the specific cause:
Treatment depends upon the type and cause of the hemolytic anemia. Folic acid , iron replacement, and corticosteroids may be used. In emergencies, transfusion of blood may be necessary.
The outcome depends upon the type of hemolytic anemia.
The complications vary with the specific type of hemolytic anemia. Severe anemia can cause cardiovascular collapse. Severe anemias can aggravate pre-existing heart disease, lung disease, or cerebrovascular disease .
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms of hemolytic anemia develop.
Calling your health care provider:
There is no known prevention for hemolytic anemia.
|Review Date: 10/30/2006|
Reviewed By: William Matsui, MD, Assistant Professor of Oncology, Division of Hematologic Malignancies, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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