Clinical Journal of Gastroenterology

, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp 237–242 | Cite as

Autoimmune hemolytic anemia in treatment-naive chronic hepatitis C infection: a case report and review of literature

  • Robert J. Basseri
  • Michael T. Schmidt
  • Benjamin Basseri
Case Report


The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most common blood-borne pathogen and currently infects over two hundred and fifty million individuals worldwide. Chronic HCV infection may result in cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver failure. An exceedingly rare extrahepatic manifestation of HCV is autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA). We discuss an interesting case of direct Coombs’-positive AIHA in a treatment-naive 53-year-old male with a past medical history of HCV cirrhosis, genotype 3a, who presented with fatigue, abdominal pain, and jaundice. Complete blood cell count demonstrated anemia, thrombocytopenia, elevated mean corpuscular hemoglobin and corpuscular volume worrisome for hemolytic anemia. Upon further workup, the patient was found to have increased bilirubin, reticulocyte count, and lactate dehydrogenase with concomitant direct Coombs’-positive test, consistent with the diagnosis of AIHA. A comprehensive workup was conducted to elucidate the underlying etiology of the AIHA, including malignancy, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and medication side-effects. Malignancy was ruled out with an imaging and bone marrow biopsy. SLE was subsequently eliminated with a negative anti-nuclear antibody (ANA), and the patient had never received ribavirin, interferon, cephalosporins or other medications associated with drug-induced immune hemolytic anemia (DI-IHA). While the relationship between DI-IHA and HCV is well-described in the literature, primary AIHA in treatment-naive patients is a rare and intriguing extrahepatic manifestation of HCV and only four reports have been described in the literature. Given the prevalence of HCV and this interesting extrahepatic manifestation, HCV testing should be considered in patients presenting with AIHA with an otherwise negative workup and a history of parenteral or lifestyle risk factors.


Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) Hepatitis C virus (HCV) Extrahepatic manifestation Treatment-naive 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Basseri
    • 1
  • Michael T. Schmidt
    • 1
  • Benjamin Basseri
    • 2
  1. 1.Cedars-Sinai Medical CenterLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Santa MonicaUSA

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