Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia | Diagnosis & Treatment

How is autoimmune hemolytic anemia diagnosed?

After ruling out other causes, doctors diagnose autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) with blood and urine tests. It is important to understand that some symptoms of anemia may resemble those of other more common medical problems or other blood disorders. Because some of these symptoms can also point to other conditions, and because anemia itself can be a symptom of another medical problem, it’s important to have your child evaluated by a qualified medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment.

What are the treatment options for AIHA?

Mild cases of autoimmune hemolytic anemia often require no treatment and resolve on their own. The most common treatments for the disorder include:

  • treatment of underlying conditions
  • corticosteroids such as prednisone to suppress the immune response
  • immunosuppressive drugs such as rituximab or azathioprine
  • splenectomy to preserve RBC and prevent anemia
  • blood transfusions

What is the long-term outlook for children with AIHA?

The prognosis for children with autoimmune hemolytic anemia is generally very good, and the anemia is typically short-lived and self-limiting. If it occurs in the first year of life or during teen years, the disease can often follow a chronic course that requires long-term immunosuppressive therapy, which can have serious consequences, such as increased risk of infection.