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Warm Antibody Hemolytic Anemia

Abstract

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NORD is very grateful to Charles H. Packman, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chief, Hematology-Oncology Section, Carolinas Medical Center, for assistance in the preparation of this report.

Synonyms of Warm Antibody Hemolytic Anemia

  • idiopathic warm antibody hemolytic anemia
  • primary warm antibody hemolytic anemia
  • warm antibody autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  • warm reacting antibody disease

Disorder Subdivisions

  • warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia secondary to IgM autoantibodies
  • warm-reactive AIHA secondary to IgM

General Discussion

Warm antibody hemolytic anemia is an autoimmune disorder characterized by the premature destruction of healthy red blood cells by autoantibodies. Autoimmune diseases occur when the body's natural defenses against foreign organisms (e.g., lymphocytes, antibodies) destroy healthy tissue for unknown reasons. Normally, red blood cells have a life span of approximately 120 days before they are removed by the spleen. The medical term for low levels of circulating red blood cells is anemia. Anemia may cause fatigue, a pale skin color (pallor), yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice) and the passage of blood in the urine (hemoglobinuria), which gives the urine a dark brown color. Warm antibody hemolytic anemia is classified as an autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), an uncommon group of disorders in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy red blood cells.

Warm Antibody Hemolytic Anemia Resources

Organizations:

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