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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 the body's needs....Read more about Hemolytic Anemia
NIH - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Immunoglobulin infusion for isoimmune haemolytic jaundice in neonates

Plain language summary will be included with future review update.

Antenatal immunoglobulin for fetal red blood cell alloimmunization

Pregnant women may develop antibodies in response to antigens on fetal red blood cells. The antibodies that result can cross the placenta to the fetus and break down red blood cells, leading to fetal anaemia. This has become less common with the routine use of anti D immunoglobulin in pregnant women with a Rhesus D‐negative blood group and no pre‐existing anti‐D antibodies, but remains a cause of fetal death. Currently, standard management involves monitoring antibody titres in conjunction with ultrasound assessment of fetal well‐being, and the use of intrauterine transfusion when fetal anaemia is diagnosed. Unfortunately, intrauterine transfusion poses significant risks because of its inherent invasiveness and procedure‐related risks, including a risk of perinatal death.

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.

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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.

Antenatal immunoglobulin for fetal red blood cell alloimmunization

Pregnant women may develop antibodies in response to antigens on fetal red blood cells. The antibodies that result can cross the placenta to the fetus and break down red blood cells, leading to fetal anaemia. This has become less common with the routine use of anti D immunoglobulin in pregnant women with a Rhesus D‐negative blood group and no pre‐existing anti‐D antibodies, but remains a cause of fetal death. Currently, standard management involves monitoring antibody titres in conjunction with ultrasound assessment of fetal well‐being, and the use of intrauterine transfusion when fetal anaemia is diagnosed. Unfortunately, intrauterine transfusion poses significant risks because of its inherent invasiveness and procedure‐related risks, including a risk of perinatal death.

Blood transfusion policies for sickle cell disease in pregnancy

Sickle cell disease is an inherited disorder of haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. In this condition, an abnormal haemoglobin S from one parent is combined with another abnormal haemoglobin from the other parent. Haemoglobin S inherited from both parents (genotype HbSS), described as sickle cell anaemia is the most common form.

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Terms to know

Anemia
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.
Hemoglobin
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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