Causes of hemolytic anemia include infection, certain medications, autoimmune disorders, and inherited disorders. Types of hemolytic anemia include:

There is no known prevention for hemolytic anemia.


Signs and tests
These are tests for hemolysis (red blood cell destruction). There are specific tests which identify the specific types of hemolytic anemia. They are performed after hemolysis has been established.

Direct measurement of the red cell life span by isotopic tagging techniques shows a decreased life span.

This disease may also alter the following test results depending on the specific cause:


Why is the test done:  Elevated absolute reticulocyte count
To determine if red blood cells are being created in the bone marrow at an appropriate rate.

A special stain can be used to identify reticulocytes, because they contain remnants of RNA. Fully mature red blood cells are terminally-differentiated cells lacking nuclei and nucleic acids. The number of reticulocytes in the blood is proportional to their rate of synthesis and release by the bone marrow. The body will respond to bleeding or hemolytic anemia (breakdown of red blood cells) by an increased rate of red blood cell synthesis under normal circumstances. A lower-than-normal percentage of reticulocyte is suggestive of a nutritional deficiency.


11-13-03  Fair Use

Last Reviewed: 11/18/2001 by Rebecca Elstrom, M.D., Division of Hematology-Oncology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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