BACKGROUND: Few therapeutic options are available for severe, life-threatening, refractory autoimmune hemolytic anemia. CASE REPORT: A 53-year-old 110-kg man was seen with acute onset of symptomatic severe anemia with syncope, unstable angina, and jaundice. His nadir Hct was 8.3 percent with a peak total bilirubin of 44 mg per dL. The DAT was positive but the IAT was negative. Elution studies demonstrated an IgG pan-agglutinin antibody reactive at 37 degrees C. Treatment with high-dose corticosteroids and IVIG was instituted. An accessory spleen measuring 2 cm was identified and surgically removed, but the patient continued to have intense hemolysis. Cyclophosphamide at 200 mg per day was started. Apheresis with a staphylococcal protein A immunoadsorption column (Prosorba, Cypress Bioscience, Inc.) was initiated on Day 18 and was performed twice weekly for a total of six treatments. Cyclophosphamide was continued for a total of 14 days. His transfusion requirement ceased by the third immunoadsorption treatment. Forty units of RBCs were required over 23 days in an attempt to maintain a Hct greater than or equal to 15 percent. CONCLUSION: Refractory autoimmune hemolysis can be a life-threatening event. The patient did not achieve a response until after several different therapeutic modalities were instituted, including plasmapheresis with a staphylococcal protein A column (Prosorba). A complete response continues to be durable for more than 1 year after therapy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy