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Haemolytic Anaemia : Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is Haemolytic Anaemia?

Red blood cells develop in the bone marrow, which is the sponge-like tissue inside your bones. Your body normally destroys old or faulty red blood cells in the spleen or other parts of your body through a process called hemolysis. Hemolytic anemia occurs when you have a low number of red blood cells due to too much hemolysis in the body.

There are many types of hemolytic anemia, which doctors diagnose based on the underlying cause of your anemia. Certain conditions can cause hemolysis to happen too fast or too often. Conditions that may lead to hemolytic anemia include inherited blood disorders such as sickle cell disease or thalassemia, autoimmune disorders, bone marrow failure, or infections. Some medicines or side effects to blood transfusions may cause hemolytic anemia.

Hemolytic anemia can develop suddenly or slowly, and it can be mild or severe. Signs and symptoms may include fatigue, dizziness, heart palpitations, pale skin, headache, confusion, jaundice, and a spleen or liver that is larger than normal. Severe hemolytic anemia can cause chills, fever, pain in the back and abdomen, or shock. Severe hemolytic anemia that is not treated or controlled can lead to serious complications, such as irregular heart rhythms called arrhythmias; cardiomyopathy, in which the heart grows larger than normal; or heart failure.

To diagnose hemolytic anemia, your doctor will do a physical exam and order blood tests. Additional tests may include a urine test, a bone marrow test, or genetic tests. People who are diagnosed with mild hemolytic anemia may not need treatment at all. For others, hemolytic anemia can often be treated or controlled. Treatments may include lifestyle changes, medicines, blood transfusions, blood and bone marrow transplants, or surgery to remove the spleen. If your hemolytic anemia is caused by medicines or another health condition, your doctor may change your treatment to control or stop the hemolytic anemia.

Haemolytic Anaemia belongs under the category of Blood disease. Extrinsic hemolytic, Intrinsic hemolytic are some common types of Haemolytic Anaemia. Generally Male, Female, Child are the victim of the Haemolytic Anaemia. Seriousness of this disease is Medium.

Symptoms of Haemolytic Anaemia are :

  • swelling on liver
  • heartburn
  • whites of your eyes
  • Yellowing of the skin
  • Dark color urine
  • Pale skin
  • Dizziness
  • Delirium and confusion
  • A faster heartbeat
  • A rapid or fast heartbeat is when your heart is beating faster than normal. A normal heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute. Tachycardia is considered a heart rate of greater than 100 beats per minute.
    If you are exercising, or performing any kind of activity, your heart will normally beat faster. This allows your heart to pump blood throughout your body, to provide oxygen to the tissues.
    If you are experiencing fear, anxiety or stress, your heart rate will increase.

    People who can feel their heartbeat, or flutter, may be experiencing palpitations. This may be due to stress, anxiety, medications, or it may be a sign of a serious heart condition. If you experience palpitations, you should report this to your healthcare provider.

  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Weakness

    Weakness is when strength is decreased and extra effort is needed to move a certain part of the body or the entire body. Weakness is due to loss of muscle strength. Weakness can be a big part of why cancer patients feel fatigue.


    Fatigue is an extreme feeling of tiredness or lack of energy, often described as being exhausted. Fatigue is something that lasts even when a person seems to be getting enough sleep. It can have many causes, including working too much, having disturbed sleep, stress and worry, not having enough physical activity, and going through an illness and its treatment.

  • Severe Headache
  • Headaches are a common health problem ? most people experience them at some time.

    Factors that lead to headaches may be:

    Frequent or severe headaches can affect a person?s quality of life. Knowing how to recognize the cause of a headache can help a person take appropriate action.

  • Medium Fever
  • A fever is a higher-than-normal body temperature. It?s a sign of your body's natural fight against infection.

    • For adults, a fever is when your temperature is higher than 100.4F.
    • For kids, a fever is when their temperature is higher than 100.4F (measured rectally); 99.5F (measured orally); or 99F (measured under the arm).

    The average normal body temperature is 98.6 Fahrenheit (or 37 Celsius). When you or your child?s temperature rises a few degrees above normal, it?s a sign that the body is healthy and fighting infection. In most cases, that?s a good thing.

    But when a fever rises above 102F it should be treated at home and, if necessary, by your healthcare provider if the fever doesn?t go down after a few days.


    Haemolytic Anaemia can be caused due to:

    It?s possible that a doctor may not be able to pinpoint the source of hemolytic anemia. However, several diseases, and even some medications, can cause this condition.

    Underlying causes of extrinsic hemolytic anemia include:

    In some instances, hemolytic anemia is the result of taking certain medications. This is known as drug-induced hemolytic anemia. Some examples of medications that could cause the condition are:

    • acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    • antibiotics, such as cephalexin, ceftriaxone, penicillin, ampicillin, or methicillin
    • chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
    • ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB)
    • interferon alpha
    • procainamide
    • quinidine
    • rifampin (Rifadin)

    One of the most severe forms of hemolytic anemia is the kind caused by receiving a red blood cell transfusion of the wrong blood type.

    Every person has a distinct blood type (A, B, AB, or O). If you receive an incompatible blood type, specialized immune proteins called antibodies will attack the foreign red blood cells. The result is an extremely fast destruction of red blood cells, which can be lethal. This is why healthcare providers need to carefully check blood types before giving blood.

    Some causes of hemolytic anemia are temporary. Hemolytic anemia may be curable if a doctor can identify the underlying cause and treat it.

    What kind of precaution should be taken in Haemolytic Anaemia?

    It is not possible to prevent some types of AIHA, but doctors can monitor people who have a viral infection or who use certain medications, to ensure that AIHA does not develop.

    Severe anemia can worsen many problems, such as heart and lung disease. People should contact a doctor if they experience any symptoms that may indicate AIHA.

    Treatment for the Haemolytic Anaemia


    Your healthcare provider may think you have hemolytic anemia based on your symptoms, your medical history, and a physical exam. Your provider may also order the following tests:

    • Complete blood count (CBC). This test measures many different parts of your blood.
    • Other blood tests. If the CBC test shows that you have anemia, you may have other blood tests. These can find out what type of anemia you have and how serious it is.
    • Urine test. This can check for hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells) and iron.
    • Bone marrow aspiration or biopsy. This involves taking a small sample of bone marrow fluid (aspiration) or solid bone marrow tissue (called a core biopsy). The sample is usually taken from the hip bones. It is checked for the number, size, and maturity of blood cells or abnormal cells.


    Treatment options for hemolytic anemia differ depending on the reason for anemia, severity of the condition, your age, your health, and your tolerance to certain medications.

    Treatment options for hemolytic anemia may include:

    • red blood cell transfusion
    • IVIG
    • immunosuppressantsTrusted Source, such as a corticosteroid
    • surgery

    Red blood cell transfusion

    A red blood cell transfusion is given to quickly increase your red blood cell count and to replace destroyed red blood cells with new ones.


    You may be given immunoglobulin intravenously in the hospital to blunt the body?s immune system if an immune process is leading to hemolytic anemia.


    In the case of an extrinsic form of hemolytic anemia of autoimmune origin, you may be prescribed corticosteroids. They can reduce your immune system activity to help prevent red blood cells from being destroyed. Other immunosuppressants may be used to achieve the same goal.


    In severe cases, your spleen may need to be removed. The spleen is where red blood cells are destroyed. Removing the spleen can reduce how fast red blood cells are destroyed. This is usually used as an option in cases of immune hemolysis that don?t respond to corticosteroids or other immunosuppressants.


    1 https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/hemolytic-anemia 2 https://www.healthline.com/health/hemolytic-anemia#causes 3 https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/201066-overview 4 https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/hemolytic-anemia 5 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/312508#causes 6 https://www.hoacny.com/patient-resources/blood-disorders/what-hemolytic-anemia/types-hemolytic-anemia 7 https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/qa/what-causes-hemolytic-anemia 8 https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/hematology-and-oncology/anemias-caused-by-hemolysis/overview-of-hemolytic-anemia 9 http://www.danafarberbostonchildrens.org/conditions/blood-disorders/hemolytic-anemia.aspx