Background, Presentation and Pathophysiology of Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia

  • Shawki QasimEmail author


Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) is an acquired disorder characterized by the production of autoantibodies with high affinity for autologous erythrocyte antigens causing red blood cell (RBC) destruction and a resultant wide spectrum of symptomatology and laboratory findings. The severity of presentation highly depends on the autoantibody type, concentration, affinity, antigen type, expression level, and antibody-antigen thermodynamics. Although AIHA is a relatively rare disorder with an estimated incidence of 1–3 cases per 100,000 per year, basic understanding of its manifestations and standard diagnostics is essential for healthcare providers in various clinical settings, as severe forms of the disease can be life-threatening. Early recognition and initiation of appropriate treatment are critical to achieving a positive outcome. Additionally, autoimmune hemolysis is frequently the presenting manifestation of a myriad of underlying autoimmune, infectious and/or neoplastic processes, and awareness of such association allows for earlier diagnosis and management of these disorders. On the other hand, even isolated subclinical immune hemolysis can sometimes complicate the interpretability of common laboratory tests and standard blood banking procedures.


Autoimmune Hemolysis Autoantibodies Warm Cold Intravascular Extravascular Agglutinin 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s HospitalHoustonUSA

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