Hemolytic crisis is the rapid destruction of large numbers of red blood cells (hemolysis ). The destruction occurs much faster than the body can produce new red blood cells.
Hemolysis - acute
During a hemolytic crisis the body cannot make enough red blood cells to replace those that are destroyed.
This causes acute and often severe anemia .
The part of red blood cells that carries oxygen (hemoglobin ) is released into the bloodstream, which can lead to kidney damage.
Causes of hemolysis include:
- A lack of certain proteins inside red blood cells
- Autoimmune diseases
- Certain infections
- Defects in the hemoglobin molecules inside red blood cells
- Defects of the proteins that make up the internal framework of red blood cells
- Medication side effects
- Reactions to blood transfusions
Call your health care provider if
Call your doctor or nurse if you have:
- Symptoms of anemia, including pale skin or fatigue, especially if these symptoms get worse
- Urine that is red, red-brown, or brown (tea-colored)
What to expect at your health care provider's office
Emergency treatment may be necessary. This may include a hospital stay, oxygen, blood transfusions, and other treatments.
When your condition is stable, your doctor or nurse will perform a physical examination and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms. The physical exam may occasionally show swelling of the spleen (splenomegaly ).
Tests that may be done include:
Schwartz RS. Autoimmune and intravascular hemolytic anemias In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. . 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 163.
Gallagher PG. Hemolytic anemias: red cell membrane and metabolic defects In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. . 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 164.
Schrier SL, Price EA. Extrinsic nonimmune hemolytic anemias. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Shattil SS, et al., eds. . 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 48.