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Hemoglobin. 2019 Jan 9:1-3. doi: 10.1080/03630269.2018.1540353. [Epub ahead of print]

Successful Outcome of Hyperhemolysis in Sickle Cell Disease following Multiple Lines of Treatment: The Role of Complement Inhibition.

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a Adult Thalassaemia Unit, 2nd Department of Internal Medicine , Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Hippokration General Hospital of Thessaloniki , Thessaloniki , Greece.
b Haematology Department, Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit , G. Papanicolaou Hospital , Thessaloniki , Greece.
c Blood Bank , Hippokration General Hospital of Thessaloniki , Thessaloniki , Greece.
d Haemoglobinopathy Service , Homerton University Hospital National Health Service Foundation Trust , London , UK.
e Blood Bank , AHEPA Hospital , Thessaloniki , Greece.


Delayed hemolytic transfusion reaction (DHTR) is a life-threatening complication in patients with sickle cell disease, characterized by difficulties in diagnosis and management. Certain reports have suggested successful salvage treatment with the terminal complement inhibitor, eculizumab. We here report evidence of complement activation and successful complement inhibition with one dose of eculizumab in an adult sickle cell disease patient presenting DHTR with hyperhemolysis. A 21-year old female sickle cell disease patient [Hb S (HBB: c.20A>T)/β-thalassemia (β-thal)] presented at our Adult Thalassaemia Unit, Hippokration General Hospital of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece, with headaches, perioral numbness and pain in both antibrachia. The patient was admitted with the diagnosis of vaso-occlussive crisis (VOC) and treated symptomatically. On her third day of admission, due to hemoglobin (Hb) value of 6.9 g/dL with increase in reticulocytes, the patient was transfused with one unit of compatible leukodepleted red blood cells (RBC). The following day, hemolytic parameters increased, although Coombs, panel antibodies and screening tests were negative. Five days later, she again received a unit of RBCs, resulting in another increase of hemolytic parameters. During the following 2 days, there was a dramatic decrease of Hb levels to 5.4 g/dL with reticulocytes at 6.0%, negative Coombs testing and negative alloantibodies. Based on these findings, we recognized the syndrome of DHTR with hyperhemolysis. Given the lack of immediate access to other treatment, we administered intravenous rituximab, immunoglobulins and corticosteroids. As there was no response, one dose of eculizumab (900 mg) was then administered with ciprofloxacin as prophylaxis. The patient remains well 6 months post treatment.


Complement; delayed hemolytic transfusion reaction (DHTR); eculizumab

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