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Idiopathic autoimmune hemolytic anemia
Alternative namesAutoimmune hemolytic anemia; Anemia - idiopathic autoimmune hemolytic
DefinitionThis disorder results from an abnormality of the immune system that destroys red blood cells prematurely. The cause is unknown.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Idiopathic autoimmune hemolytic anemia is an acquired disease that occurs when antibodies form against the person's own red blood cells. In the idiopathic form of this disease, the cause is unknown.
There are other types of immune hemolytic anemias where the cause may result from an underlying disease or medication. Idiopathic autoimmune hemolytic anemia accounts for one-half of all immune hemolytic anemias. The onset of the disease may be quite rapid and very serious.
Risk factors are not known.
Signs and tests
The first therapy tried is usuallu treatment with prednisone. If prednisone does not improve the condition, a splenectomy (removal of the spleen) may be considered.
Immunosuppressive therapy is given if the person does not respond to prednisone and splenectomy. Imuran and Cytoxan have both been used.
Blood transfusions are given with caution, if indicated for severe anemia , because of the potential that blood may not be compatible and precipitate a reaction.
Expectations (prognosis)Adults may have chronic, relapsing disease, but in children the anemia is usually short-lived.
Calling your health care providerCall your health care provider if you notice symptoms of anemia.
PreventionThere is no known prevention for idiopathic autoimmune hemolytic anemia, because the cause is unknown.
Update Date: 6/5/2003Ezra E. W. Cohen, M.D., Section of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT