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Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 1985;4(2):125-54.

Autoimmune hemolysis: a critical review.


Autoimmune hemolysis is defined as a shortening of erythrocyte lifespan due to antibodies directed against the individuals own red cells. This autoantibody production (by B lymphocytes) is thought to result from deficient activity of suppressor T lymphocytes. The rate of erythrocyte destruction depends on the properties of the autoantibodies and on the activities of the complement and mononuclear phagocyte systems: anemia results when destruction outweighs marrow production. Autoimmune hemolysis, which may be primary or secondary, is classified into "warm," "cold," and "mixed" types. The hemolysis associated with pregnancy. Donath-Landsteiner antibodies, of mixed type, and in children, is treated in detail. Current treatment is with immunosuppressive drugs, surgery, and plasma exchange, though immunomanipulation may become important in the future; blood transfusion may be a life-saving adjunct to other therapy.

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