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HIV-Associated Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia: Report of a Case and Review of the Literature

Telen, Marilyn J.; Roberts, Kenneth B.; Bartlett, John A.
JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: October 1990
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SummaryWhile anemia and a positive direct anti-globulin test are each frequently observed in the clinical syndrome of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, autoimmune hemolytic anemia has rarely been reported in this setting. A case of severe warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) with reticulocytopenia in a patient with AIDS-related complex is reported. Laboratory and clinical findings of severe hemolysis were present, including anhaptoglobinemia, microspherocytosis, splenomegaly, and transfusion dependence. Azidothymidine (AZT) therapy may have exacerbated this patient's anemia. Splenectomy produced a delayed but complete remission of the AIHA despite continuation of AZT therapy. Review of other reports of positive direct antiglobulin tests and autoimmune hemolytic anemia in patients with HIV infections suggests that autoantibodies may be a significant cause of anemia in this population and that the frequent lack of reticulocytosis, despite bone marrow erythroid hyperplasia, may lead to the underdiagnosis of AIHA in HIV-infected patients.

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