Warm Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia: Clinical Profile and Management

Sreenivasa Rao Sudulagunta, Monica Kumbhat, Mahesh Babu Sodalagunta, Aravinda Settikere Nataraju, Shiva Kumar Bangalore Raja, Keshava Chandra Thejaswi, Raj Deepak, Asif Hussain Mohammed, Sony P. Sunny, Amulya Visweswar, Mikita Suvarna, Rashmi Nanjappa


Background: Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) is a rare autoimmune disease in which autoantibodies target red blood cells leading to marked decrease in their lifespan. The classification of AIHA is based on the immunochemical properties of the RBC autoantibody. Warm antibody AIHA (wAIHA) accounts for 75-80% of all adult AIHA cases. The treatment of wAIHA is mainly corticosteroids. Our retrospective study aimed to study the clinical profile and management of wAIHA.

Methods: Data of 75 patients admitted with wAIHA or presented to outpatient department (previous medical records) with wAIHA between January 2003 and January 2016 were analyzed.

Results: In our study, females constituted 12 and 26 patients of primary and secondary wAIHA, while males constituted 17 and 20 patients of primary and secondary wAIHA, respectively. Mean hemoglobin level at AIHA onset was found to be 7.1 ± 1.7 g/dL in primary wAIHA group and 6.3 ± 1.2 g/dL in secondary wAIHA group, which is statistically significant. Splenectomy was used as mode of treatment in one (3.4%) patient of primary wAIHA group and 15 (32.60%) patients of secondary wAIHA group, which is statistically significant. Mean age of wAIHA onset was 69.7 ± 21.5 years in wAIHA group secondary to lymphoma and 54.3 ± 25.7 years in other wAIHA group, which is statistically significant.

Conclusion: The most common causes of secondary wAIHA are B-cell lymphoma, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), common variable immune deficiency, renal cell carcinoma and secondary to drug usage (alpha methyldopa and carbamazepine), respectively. Reducing the cumulative dose of corticosteroids with second line treatment whenever possible and therefore reducing the risk of sepsis, specifically in older patients with comorbidities will reduce morbidity and mortality.

J Hematol. 2017;6(1):12-20
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jh303w


Warm antibody autoimmune hemolytic anemia; Rituximab; Corticosteroids; Complete response; Partial response; Direct antiglobulin test; Prednisone

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