Hemolytic Anemia


Q: Dear sir, what is the treatment of hemolytic anemia?


A:   Haemolytic anaemia is a low blood Haemoglobin level (anaemia) secondary to premature breakdown of red blood cells (haemolysis). This can be due to inherited diseases or acquired disease and clinical manifestations range from asymptomatic patients to life-threatening severe anaemia. Inherited diseases producing a haemolytic anaemia include Glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, hereditary spherocytosis or sickle cell anaemia. Acquired causes of a haemolytic anaemia include; auto-immune haemolytic anaemia, prosthetic heart valves, drugs or antiviral agents, infection, toxins in the body or disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Treatment is aimed at identifying and treating the underlying cause and restoring the circulating blood volume with blood transfusions if absolutely necessary, discontinuing causative medications, steroids for auto-immune disease, replacing folate and iron levels and splenectomy may be indicated in certain circumstances, with appropriate vaccination and preventative antibiotics. I would discuss this further with your Consultant Haematologist.

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