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Hemolytic Anemia

Hemolytic anemia is a condition in which red blood cells are destroyed and removed from the bloodstream before their normal lifespan is over.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Hemolytic Anemia

Hemolytic anemia (HEE-moh-lit-ick uh-NEE-me-uh) is a condition in which red blood cells are destroyed and removed from the bloodstream before their normal lifespan is over.

Red blood cells are disc-shaped and look like doughnuts without holes in the center. These cells carry oxygen to your body. They also remove carbon dioxide (a waste product) from your body.

Red blood cells are made in the bone marrow - a sponge-like tissue inside the bones. They live for about 120 days in the bloodstream and then die.

White blood cells and platelets (PLATE-lets) also are made in the bone marrow. White blood cells help fight infections. Platelets stick together to seal small cuts or breaks on blood vessel walls and stop bleeding.

When blood cells die, the body's bone marrow makes more blood cells to replace them. However, in hemolytic anemia, the bone marrow can't make red blood cells fast enough to meet... Read more about Hemolytic Anemia

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Immunoglobulin infusion for isoimmune haemolytic jaundice in neonates

Plain language summary will be included with future review update.

Comparative effectiveness of different types of splenectomy for children with congenital hemolytic anemias

OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of different types of splenectomy in children with congenital hemolytic anemias.

Anaemia Management in Chronic Kidney Disease: Partial Update 2015 [Internet]

Anaemia is defined internationally as a state in which the quality and/or quantity of circulating red blood cells is below normal. Blood haemoglobin (Hb) concentration serves as the key indicator for anaemia because it can be measured directly and has an international standard. In response to low tissue oxygen levels in anaemia the kidney produces the hormone erythropoietin which stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. A major cause of the anaemia of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a reduction in erythropoietin production due to kidney damage.

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Summaries for consumers

Immunoglobulin infusion for isoimmune haemolytic jaundice in neonates

Plain language summary will be included with future review update.

Hydralazine for treatment of high blood pressure

Hydralazine has been used for the treatment of high blood pressure since the 1950's. It is believed that hydralazine reduces blood pressure, however there are concerns due to the potential for this drug to cause adverse effects. The aim of this review was to determine the extent to which hydralazine reduces blood pressure, the nature of hydralazine’s adverse effect profile, and to determine the clinical impact of its use for hypertension. Unfortunately, the search revealed no randomized controlled trials which compared hydralazine to placebo as monotherapy for primary hypertension, therefore we are unable to make firm conclusions regarding its effects on blood pressure, adverse effects, or clinical outcomes. Some of the adverse effects related to hydralazine and that have been reported in the literature include reflex tachycardia, hemolytic anemia, vasculitis, glomerulonephritis, and a lupus‐like syndrome.

Purine Antagonists for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia

Despite increasing insight into its tumour biology B‐CLL remains an incurable disease. So far, chemotherapy with alkylating agents such as chlorambucil has been the mainstay of treatment in B‐CLL. However, purine antagonists such as fludarabine are increasingly being used, as it has been suggested that these novel drugs are more effective. This review confirms the greater response rates achievable by using purine antagonists but at the cost of greater toxicity, mainly infections. There is inconclusive evidence whether treatment with purine antagonists improves survival. None of the studies included quality of life data. More research is needed to fully explore the role of purine antagonists in the treatment of B‐CLL and their potential impact on survival.

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Terms to know

A condition caused when the body does not have enough red blood cells or hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein in the blood that carries oxygen.
Bone Marrow
The soft, sponge-like tissue in the center of most bones. It produces white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
Cardiac Arrhythmia (Arrhythmia)
An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm.
Erythrocytes (Red Blood Cells)
A cell that carries oxygen to all parts of the body.
Heart Failure
A chronic condition in which the heart cannot pump blood properly.
A protein inside red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to tissues and organs in the body and carries carbon dioxide back to the lungs.
Leukocytes (White Blood Cells)
A type of immune cell. Most white blood cells are made in the bone marrow and are found in the blood and lymph tissue. White blood cells help the body fight infections and other diseases. Granulocytes, monocytes, and lymphocytes are white blood cells.
Platelets (Thrombocytes)
A tiny piece of cell that is made by breaking off of a large cell in the bone marrow. Platelets are found in the blood and spleen. They help form blood clots to slow or stop bleeding, and to help wounds heal. Also called thrombocyte.

More about Hemolytic Anemia

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Also called: Haemolytic anaemia

Other terms to know: See all 8
Anemia, Bone Marrow, Cardiac Arrhythmia (Arrhythmia)

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