DESCRIPTIONHemolytic anemia develops due to the premature destruction of mature red blood cells. The bone marrow cannot produce red blood cells fast enough to compensate for those being destroyed. This is not contagious. The blood, bone marrow, and spleen are involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Hospitalization for transfusions during a hemolytic crisis.
Surgery to remove an enlarged spleen (sometimes).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSFatigue.
Shortness of breath.
Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes, dark urine).
CAUSESAn inherited disorder, such as hereditary spherocytosis, G6PD deficiency, sickle-cell anemia, or thalassemia.
Antibodies produced by the child's body to fight infections, which for unknown reasons attack red blood cells. This response is sometimes triggered by blood transfusions.
Use of medications, including non-prescription drugs, that damage the child's red blood cells.
RISK FACTORSFamily history of hemolytic anemia.
Use of any medication.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Don't give your child any medicine that has previously triggered hemolytic anemia.
Seek genetic counseling before having children if you have a family history of hemolytic anemia (inherited forms).
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory blood studies, including a blood count, examination of bone marrow, measurement with radioactive chromium of red cell survival, and other nuclear medicine studies.
Excessive spleen enlargement, which increases destruction of the child's red blood cells.
Pain, shock, and serious illness caused by hemolysis (red blood cell destruction).
PROBABLE OUTCOMEIf hemolytic anemia is acquired, it can usually be cured when the cause, such as a drug, is removed. Sometimes the child's spleen is removed surgically.
If hemolytic anemia is inherited, it is currently considered incurable. However, the child's symptoms can be relieved or controlled.
Scientific research into causes and treatment continues, so there is hope for increasingly effective treatment and cure.
HOME CAREIf your child must have the spleen removed, your surgeon will explain the procedure and what you need to do.
MEDICATIONImmunosuppressive drugs to control the antibody response.
Medication to reduce pain. For minor discomfort, use non-prescription drugs such as acetaminophen.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your doctor may prescribe:
After treatment, your child can resume normal activities as soon as possible.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes, when appetite has returned and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of hemolytic anemia.
The following occurs during treatment:
-- Sore throat.
-- Swollen joints.
-- Muscle aches.
-- Bloody urine.
-- Signs of infection in any part of the child's body (redness, pain, swelling, fever).
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.