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Case of Donath-Landsteiner haemolytic anaemia in an adult female
  1. Ruchi Bhatt,
  2. Luis Calvo,
  3. Gagan Raju,
  4. Alida Podrumar
  1. Medicine, Nassau University Medical Center, East Meadow, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ruchi Bhatt, ruchibhatt9{at}


Donath-Landsteiner haemolytic anaemia (DLHA), also known as paroxysmal cold haemoglobinuria, is a very rare and difficult condition to diagnose as well as treat. Here, we present a case of a 55-year-old Hispanic woman who presented with severe intravascular haemolytic anaemia in the setting of a viral illness 2 weeks prior to presentation. Direct antiglobulin testing revealed mixed results: positive for either complement, IgG or both on various occasions which led to a battery of tests including the Donath-Landsteiner antibody testing which turned out positive establishing the diagnosis of DLHA. She was initially treated unsuccessfully with supportive care in the form of packed red blood cell transfusions and steroids as well as rituximab for about 4 weeks but her condition improved on cyclophosphamide, and she is on the road to recovery after 10 weeks of hospital stay.

  • haematology (incl blood transfusion)
  • immunology
  • malignant and benign haematology
  • medical management

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  • Contributors RB, LC, GR: substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work, or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data. RB: drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content. AP: final approval of the version published. RB, LC, GR and AP: agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • 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.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

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

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