Autoimmune haemolytic anaemia

From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary



A form of haemolytic anaemia in which the antibodies are directed against own red blood cells


Haemolytic anaemia is a form of anaemia caused by haemolysis. It may be either hereditary or acquired. Haemolytic anaemia that is hereditary may be due to defects in erythrocyte production, in hemoglobin production, or in erythrocyte metabolism. Acquired haemolytic anemia, in turn, may be due to immune related factors.

Autoimmune haemolytic anaemia is an example of an acquired form of haemolytic anaemia. It occurs when the antibodies act against own red blood cells. These antibodies lyse the red blood cells. Thus, in a person with a severe automimmune haemolytic anaemia, the lifespan of red blood cells could be reduced into just few days from the normal 100-120 days.1

Autoimmune haemolytic anaemia may either be warm or cold depending on the characteristics of the autoantibodies involved. Warm (antibody) autoimmune haemolytic anaemia is more common than cold (antibody) autoimmune haemolytic anaemia. 2

Abbreviation / Acronym: AIHA


  • autoimmune hemolytic anemia


  • immunohaemolytic anaemia
  • immune complex haemolytic anaemia

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1 Sawitsky, A. & Ozaeta, P. B. (1970). "Disease-associated autoimmune hemolytic anemia". Bull N Y Acad Med 46 (6): 411–26.
2 Cotran, R. S., Kumar, V., Fausto, N., Nelso F., Robbins, S. L., & Abbas, A. K. (2005). Robbins and Cotran pathologic basis of disease. St. Louis, Mo: Elsevier Saunders. p. 637.