Research Article|Articles in Press, 103703

Clinical and immunohematological characterization of autoimmune hemolytic anemia in children


      Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA) in childhood is uncommon and estimated to be three per million annually under 18 years of age. Detailed immunohematological and clinical characterizations are essential for correct diagnosis of the disease and its management. In this study we described AIHA in children with regards to patient demography, underlying etiology, disease classification, antibody characterization, clinical features, degree of in vivo hemolysis and transfusion management. The prospective observational study was conducted over a period of 6 years and included 29 children with newly diagnosed AIHA. Patient details were obtained from the hospital information system and patient treatment file. The median age of the children was 12 years with a female preponderance. Secondary AIHA was observed in 62.1% patients. The mean hemoglobin and reticulocyte were 7.1 gm/dL and 8.8 percentages respectively. The median polyspecific direct antiglobulin test (DAT) grading was 3+. Red cell bound multiple autoantibodies were found in 27.6% children. Free serum autoantibodies were present in 62.1% patients. Twenty six of the 42 units transfused were “best match” or “least incompatible”. Follow-up of 21 children showed clinical and laboratory improvement with DAT still positive at the end of 9 months. AIHA in childhood requires advanced and efficient clinical, immunohematological and transfusion support. Detailed characterization of AIHA is important, as they determine degree of in vivo hemolysis, disease severity, serological incompatibility and necessity of blood transfusion. Although blood transfusion in AIHA is a challenge but it should not be withheld in critically ill patients.


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