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Complement-mediated autoimmune haemolytic anaemia as an initial presentation of Legionnaires’ disease
  1. Uzma Sabahat1,
  2. Niaz Ahmed Shaikh1,
  3. Ali Mohammed Mahmood Alameen2 and
  4. Faryal Ashfaq1
  1. 1Internal Medicine, Rashid Hospital, Dubai, UAE
  2. 2Pathology, Rashid Hospital, Dubai, UAE
  1. Correspondence to Dr Uzma Sabahat; uzmasabahat{at}


A 42-year-old diabetic man presented to the hospital with severe sepsis and multiorgan dysfunction. A probable respiratory source of sepsis was suspected because of suggestive clinical and radiological findings. He was critically ill and was therefore admitted to intensive care for further management including ventilatory support and renal replacement therapy. He was also found to have marked anaemia requiring multiple blood transfusions with clinical and laboratory evidence pointing towards severe haemolysis. Further workup for the aetiology of pneumonia established a diagnosis of Legionella by confirmatory tests namely legionella antigen in the urine and exponentially rising serum antibody titres. The cause for the severe haemolysis was found to be complement-mediated autoimmune haemolysis as determined by direct antiglobulin test positive for complement components C3 and negative for IgG. Such clinically significant autoimmune haemolysis as a presenting feature, rather than a late complication, has never before been reported in the literature.

  • haematology (incl blood transfusion)
  • pneumonia (infectious disease)

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  • Contributors US wrote the manuscript and NAS reviewed and critically revised the manuscript. AMMA and FA contributed to the compilation of investigations and drafted tables. All the authors reviewed and agreed on the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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