The Division of Hematology Oncology has special expertise in the common and uncommon hemolytic anemias of childhood. Hemolytic anemia is a condition in which red blood cells do not live their usual 120 day lifespan. Red cells are destroyed or die prematurely and release their red pigment into the tissues or circulation. This leads to the formation of a yellow pigment called bilirubin that colors the eyes and skin of the patient yellow. This condition is called jaundice. This yellow pigment is excreted from the body through the biliary tract system which includes the gall bladder and a common problem for patients with hemolytic anemia is gall stones and gall bladder attacks. Some of these illnesses are severe. When the body cannot maintain enough red blood cells with their important hemoglobin protein for carrying oxygen, transfusions may be necessary. Consultation with specialists in these disorders can lead to better quality of life and enhanced safety for patients.
Common types of hemolytic anemia include:
- Hemolytic disease of the newborn
- Hereditary spherocytosis
- Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
- Red cell enzyme disorders (e.g. G6PD, PK deficiencies)
- Hereditary eliptocytosis and the associated eliptocytosis disorders
- Hereditary stomatocytosis