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Warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia: Treatment

Stanley L Schrier, MD
Section Editor
William C Mentzer, MD
Deputy Editor
Jennifer S Tirnauer, MD


Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) due to the presence of warm agglutinins is almost always due to IgG antibodies that react with protein antigens on the red blood cell (RBC) surface at body temperature. For this reason, they are called "warm agglutinins" even though they seldom directly agglutinate the RBCs. This condition differs from AIHA due to the presence of cold agglutinins, which are usually due to IgM antibodies that react with polysaccharide antigens on the RBC surface at temperatures below the core temperature of the body and can be associated with both RBC agglutination and hemolytic anemia.

This topic review will discuss the treatment of AIHA in the adult due to warm agglutinins [1,2]. The pathogenesis, clinical features, and diagnosis of AIHA due to warm agglutinins are discussed separately. (See "Pathogenesis of autoimmune hemolytic anemia: Warm agglutinins and drugs" and "Warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia: Clinical features and diagnosis".)

Treatment of warm agglutinin AIHA in children is discussed separately. (See "Autoimmune hemolytic anemia in children: Classification, clinical features, and diagnosis".)

Treatment of warm AIHA in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus is discussed separately, although the treatment approach is quite similar. (See "Hematologic manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus", section on 'Autoimmune hemolytic anemia'.)

The pathogenesis and treatment of hemolytic anemia due to the presence of cold agglutinins is discussed separately. (See "Pathogenesis of autoimmune hemolytic anemia: Cold agglutinin disease" and "Cold agglutinin disease" and "Paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: May 30, 2017.
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