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Citation Information : Immunohematology. Volume 20, Issue 3, Pages 177-183, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21307/immunohematology-2019-445
License : (Transfer of Copyright)
Published Online: 16-May-2020
RBC transfusions in a patient with a history of autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) can represent both a laboratory and a clinical challenge. The development of high-titer low-avidity antibodies and antibodies to high-frequency antigens may further impair the ability to identify compatible donor RBCs. Not infrequently, incompatible RBCs must be used and the desire to increase oxygen carrying capacity conflicts with the desire to avoid exacerbating the autoimmune hemolytic process with RBC transfusions. A 66-year-old Caucasian female with coronary artery disease and a history of refractory AIHA had recently developed anemia and required multiple RBC transfusions. The patient had maintained adequate RBC counts with erythropoietin and prednisone therapy for the previous 16 months. With the recent worsening of her hemolytic anemia,she had developed angina that was treated with RBC transfusions in an outpatient setting. However, her angina increased as her RBC counts decreased, leading to hospital admission for further management of her hemolytic anemia and angina. She subsequently required multiple incompatbile RBC transfusions despite increased prednisone therapy and did not improve until after coronary artery stent placement and high dose IVIG therapy. This case demonstrates the usefulness of early patient phenotyping in a case of accelerating hemolytic anemia to aid in donor RBC selection, the value of communicating with clinicians and the patient regarding the use of least-incompatible RBCs, and the importance of optimizing the patient’s clinical condition to avoid ischemia. In addition, it demonstrates the value of repeated attempts with IVIG treatment despite previous refractoriness to this treatment.